Guatemalans should not be granted Belizean citizenship, this is the position of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (BCCI) the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB). For the past few weeks, Love News has been reporting that the BCCI has written to several government representatives including the Prime Minister, expressing that granting Guatemalans Belizean citizenship goes against the constitution. The BCCI pointed out that Section 29 of the Constitution of Belize states that no person shall be granted Belizean nationality if that person is from a country that does not recognize Belize’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity like Guatemala. BNTU National President Senator Elena Smith told Love News that the Nationality Scrutinizing Committee has since stopped reviewing applications from Guatemalans who are requesting Belizean citizenship.
Elena Smith, BNTU President: “The position of the NTUCB to our rep was that we do not support the approval of any applications for those persons and so if a Guatemalan where to apply for a nationality or whatever they apply for we are not supporting the approval of those because again as you rightly said the constitution is clear when it comes to that. And so the NTUCB position has been that we will not support that. So the BCCI and the NTUCB have similar positions. The last I heard from our rep is that they were not reviewing them- I don’t know if something has changed since the last report we have received at the NTUCB but that they were not looking at them any at all. If there was a change then I am not aware of that and so that will be something that the NTUCB will have to look at and see how both groups can come together to put forth a position on that matter because I do know that we are strongly against giving those persons any type of nationality, having them become citizens that sort of thing the NTUCB does not support any of that at all. So it would have to be that we would then have to collaborate with the BCCI to see what it is that we could do to ensure that our position is heard and that we abide by the constitution.”
The BCCI has also written to the Leader of the Opposition, John Briceno