Last week Wednesday, PUP Senator Eamon Courtenay’s motion in the Senate to amend the Maritime Areas Act fell through as it was defeated. Courtenay is pushing to have government amend the act to benefit Belize’s negotiating power. When passed, Belize claimed only three miles of territorial waters, although international law ensures that Belize is entitled to twelve. That was done to make room for negotiations, but,in 2008 both countries decided to take the dispute to the International Court of Justice ceasing all negotiations. Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington says it’s not an urgent matter and that government is dealing with it. Courtenay says Elrington and the UDP are failing the Belizean people.
But what happens if one of the countries votes against taking the dispute to the ICJ? Courtenay says this is exactly where the amendment will benefit Belize.