Should Born Guatemalans be allowed to vote in Belize Guatemala Referendum?

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Updated: November 22, 2017

The illegal entry of the four Guatemalan soldiers and three Guatemalan journalists can be interpreted as either an honest mistake or a daring move to get the story. However, Belize law enforcement officers made sure that they returned to their side of the border. This is not the first and will not be the last incident where Guatemalan nationals enter Belize illegally.  Over the years, thousands of Guatemalans have made Belize their home.  The issue of Guatemalans getting Belizean nationality was one of the subjects brought up by the Senate Select Committee when the Substantive Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse, testified. Hulse stated that Guatemalans who have properly renounced their Guatemalan citizenship to obtain a Belizean nationality should be allowed to vote in the Belize Guatemala Referendum. His Cabinet colleague, Foreign Affairs Minister, Wilfred Elrington, shared Hulse’s opinion.

Wilfred Elrington – Minister of Foreign Affairs

“We only have one category of nationality; a Belizean. There is no provision in the law to distinguish and differentiate. You’re a Belizean. So long as you’ve been made a Belizean, you’re a Belizean and therefore you’re entitled to all your rights and benefits. There’s no provision in the law that can discriminate against that. If I were opposed to it, it wouldn’t help me, it wouldn’t help you because it is the law.”

Hipolito Novelo

“So you’re disagreeing with your substantive Minister of Immigration because he is saying that you are right, the law does not provide them not to vote. He says that…”

Wilfred Elrington – Minister of Foreign Affairs

“I always try to be right.”

Hipolito Novelo

“He says that maybe the law should be amended. Is it a discussion that the government and cabinet should…”

That is his opinion and everybody is entitled. Everybody has an opinion and everybody is entitled to it. My view…

Hipolito Novelo

“One that we don’t share”

Wilfred Elrington – Minister of Foreign Affairs

“My view is that I am going to observe the law and changes and I am going to observe that as well.”