Last week, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, along with Former Foreign Ministers Assad Shoman, Godfrey Smith, Lisa Shoman and Said Musa, who served under past PUP administrations, came together to sign a declaration in support of taking Guatemala’s unfounded claim on Belize to the International Court of Justice, ICJ. Obviously missing was the current Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington. Today, the media asked Elrington how he felt about being excluded from the event. Elrington said that it gives him great pride when ethical and moral leaders step forward and lead the people in the way that they are expected to do.
Honorable Wilfred Elrington:” There is a perception that there was a disconnect and a difference between Government’s position and the oppositions position and I think that it was absolutely classic on the part of Assad Shoman to explain that although there was changing of the guard politically in 2008 the same people who had worked with the OAS on 2007 and prior to put in place the measures that brought us to this position were the same team that remained, in other words we did not change anything. The Compromi was prepared by that same team and their legal advisors and all that we have done so far has been with blessing and consent of that team.
Staying on the subject of the upcoming referendum, there was a Bill tabled in December 2018 by Area Representative for Caribbean Shores, Kareem Musa. The Bill was for Diaspora Voters Legislation; it didn’t go far and has left the Belizeans in the diaspora unable to vote in the referendum. According to Foreign Minister, Wilfred Elrington, he doesn’t see it practical for those living abroad to vote since they have are not residing in Belize.
Honorable Wilfred Elrington: “The Referendum in my view was intended to get the opinion of the people who live in Belize and who work in Belize and who will suffer the consequence of what happens, not people who live abroad and people who may never come back. It has nothing to do with whether you are a Belizean or American it has to do with where you live, where you are prepared to die, where you are prepared to fight for, that kind of thing so those people who are in the United States, there is not a single person of Belizean heritage in the United States who cannot come down here spend the two months, get registered, go back and when the thing come vote you know and quite a few people have done that so it is not like there is any law that prevents them from getting it done. There are in a more a difficult position that I am. I have to live here in my constituency for two months to be able to go and register and I have show certain documents. The same requirements is expected of them, they have to decide whether it is in fact more important for them to stay there and protect their jobs which is natural or is it more important for them to give up the two months that they have over there and come here.”
The opportunity to have Belizeans abroad given a chance to vote on the ICJ issue was being pushed by several factions in Belize.