During today’s press meeting with Assad Shoman, several historical events relating to Guatemala’s claim on Belize was brought up. Shoman, who remains an essential individual with deep knowledge and experience on the topic, spoke of the late Right Honourable George Cadle Price. Shoman recollected when Price had to resist British influence while keeping them on Belize’s side.
Assad Shoman, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs: “This was in 1975 when you had the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Kingston Jamaica and George Price went there and he had support from the Caribbean countries and he got support from the others and the British were trying to not have anything stated in the resolution about territorial integrity because they wanted to give us land and they didn’t want that in the resolution so they took it out- they actually succeeded in taking it out but the way it’s written it’s obvious and so you know how the British go. What I didn’t know that the Foreign Minister Callahan went on to Washington to meet with his people there and he actually said ‘If George Price continues with his foolishness we will have to take our troops out.’ so I said what ?I didn’t know it had reached that point. So it was a very difficult game and the rest of us had to play. We had to keep the British on our side, we couldn’t alienate them because they were the ones defending the country. On the other hand we couldn’t do what they wanted which was to give up land or give up sovereignty. So many times Price had to say ‘alright I will consider that.’ because they and the US but he never meant to agree to it but sometimes they thought he did and then afterwards when it turned out otherwise they said ‘this man is going back on his word.’ and things like that. But that was all part of the game that had to be played to get to the end game which was Belize with total sovereignty in terms of Guatemala and territorial integrity. I say in terms of Guatemala because let’s face it no country is totally independent and totally sovereign in today’s world and when you have foreign troops in your land defending you you can’t say you are fully sovereign because they are here and you can’t do what you want otherwise they might pull out right. So all those years that the British were here it was a two edged sword, on the one hand they were defending us from Guatemala but on the other hand they are limiting us as to what we can do.”