Briceno: PUP has always taken a bi-partisan approach to Guatemala

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Updated: November 16, 2017

Earlier in the week, we reported that the Guatemalan Government changed the date of its referendum to April 15 as opposed to March 11, 2018. This is the second time that the Guatemalans have changed the date and Opposition Leader John Briceno was not surprised.

John Briceno, Opposition Leader

“I think Guatemala has massive problems that they have to deal with, in governance, in corruption in trying to get anything done. So I would not be surprised if a month from now or later they are going to change the date. We have to see what it is that they want to do but we have to hold the Prime Minister to his word where he has promised us in the opposition and has promised this nation that before he holds a referendum that he will have a reregistration because as we have been saying that the present voters list is corrupt.”

Briceno says that the PUP has always taken a bi-partisan approach when dealing with Guatemala’s unfounded claim but also says his party will not sit on the sidelines.

John Briceno, Opposition Leader

“We’ve always taken a bipartisan approach when it comes to Belize to the unfounded Guatemalan claim; that has always been our position- we don’t play politics with the sovereignty of our country that has not changed then and does not change now and will not change in the future. But our concern was, with the government, was that we felt that the government only had us as an appendage so that they can turn around and say that the opposition is also a part of it. If the government wants us to play a part of this whole discussion, setting up the strategy and the negotiations and the discussion when we meet with Guatemala we want to be respected, we want to feel that we are a part of what is going on and not just ‘oh the opposition is right there’ and they don’t listen to us. When way back we were seeing the direction that this was going and raising the concerns to the Prime Minister we were pointing out to the Prime Minister that it is important for us to come out with a strategy.”

If Guatemala votes in favor to take the case to the ICJ, then Belize is expected to hold its referendum by the end of 2018 or the beginning of 2019.