Minister Elrington comments on reports of Taiwanese loan to Guatemala

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Updated: August 16, 2017

This evening the media caught up with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington. One of the questions posed to the Minister was in respect to the recent news that had emerged from Guatemala in respect to the hundreds of millions of dollars purportedly being loaned to the Guatemalan government by the Taiwanese Government. However, as we have reported, Taiwanese Foreign Minister, Lee Hsien-Chang as saying that while the ministry does not comment on individual costs of overseas assistance project, the six hundred and fifty million dollar figure is an inconceivably large amount and should not be taken seriously.  Minister Elrington told the media that such propaganda reports are being monitored.

 

Wilfred Elrington – Minister of Foreign Affairs

“Taiwan like other countries try to help other developing countries to develop their countries and the Guatemalan President in an interest to try to further develop Guatemala made a request for that sum of money but is not likely that they will get it. Of course whatever investment goes into Guatemala particularly in relation to roads and the like whatever helps enhance their road infrastructure has a very important implication for their economic development because we are so near to each other there can always be spill off effects. So if you have a very nice four lane highway in Guatemala going all the way to the sea you might very well find that you have many more people coming through Belize going up to Mexico from Guatemala so it brings more traffic to Belize; that of course brings both benefits and burdens so it’s something that we need to be apprised of and see how we can benefit from it. I think the benefits certainly would outweigh the negatives and I think that we need to position ourselves to benefit from it when it happens. I think what is of central importance is that the Guatemalan administration is taking every initiative to try to develop their country in the same way that we are doing. The country can’t stay stagnant and we need to keep abreast of those developments and we are trying to do that.

 

Guatemalan news outlets had reported that the supposed hundreds of millions of dollars would have been used to build a major road in that country. Some were saying that as part of the Guatemala’s propaganda machine, they would have used this as leverage for their referendum.

 

Wilfred Elrington – Minister of Foreign Affairs

“I am always very deeply saddened and distressed by the absence of knowledge on the part of the Belizean public on the Belize/ Guatemala issue. We have to go to the ICJ because we have to define our borders, that is our biggest problem. The maritime borders were never defined, demarcated and never agreed upon and the Western border we have conflict on that, that is why we have to go to the ICJ, it has nothing to do with the building of a road. As a matter of fact the whole issue of the building of the road clause 7 under the 1859 Treaty was regarded by the British as a non-issue, that is a non-issue so whether they build it or not is not of any moment, it’s not going to affect in any way the litigation that we have that is a non-issue it has no real bearing on the issue. Why we have to go to the ICJ is that we do not have borders that are internationally recognized and that can put us in trouble because if we have people who come into our territorial waters and we want to apprehend them we are not certain as to whether or not we can do it because they can take the challenge that they are not in Belize’s waters and how do you determine that you are in Belize’s waters you have to have defined borders to be able to prove that. See the problem so almost anyone can come in now and fish in our waters and we can’t stop them why? Because we don’t have agreed maritime borders and more and more the fishing resources are becoming more important so those are things of great great importance.