April 15, 2018, is the date when it is expected that more than seven million registered Guatemalan voters will decide whether to take the country’s unfounded territorial claim on Belize to the International Court of Justice, ICJ. Belize is expected to carry out its referendum by the end of 2018 or early 2019. Guatemala is claiming the entire country and the entire legal process may take up to six years before the ICJ hands down a ruling. Opposition Leader John Briceno says the Government of Belize needs a strategy.
John Briceno – Opposition Leader
“The government does not have a strategy as it is, they are just reacting and that is why we have been I think that Guatemala has been winning the PR campaign on Belize Guatemala because they are trying to come across that they are trying to cooperate and see how they can move this forward but because we do not have a strategy we have been seen as if we are the ones that are holding back the process. We recommended to the Prime Minister that we need to set up what we had a national team because there are no longer negotiations. A national team where we can bring a small group of two or three experts, people like Assad Shoman I’ll just use that as one example and others that can then lead this effort and come up with a strategy, not only a strategy for Belize here in Belize but also an international strategy, we need to be able to once again go into an international campaign meeting and visiting the countries that are friendly to us that support our position, we need to sit down with them and explain to them what is happening on the ground because it is Guatemala that has become the aggressor, they are the ones that have strong armed the Sarstoon river, they are the ones that are coming into the Chiquibul and the Columbia Forest Reserves, they are the ones coming into our Mayan Temples and raiding whatever they can have, they are the ones that are going with all the wildlife, with our Xate, our mahogany everything. So we need to go on an aggressive international campaign so that the international community can understand what Guatemala is doing to us.”
The Guatemalan Government has set aside some eighty million Belize dollars for the entire referendum process.