It is expected that Belize will hold its ICJ referendum sometime in 2019 or later. While the Government wants to secure a ‘yes’ vote, the general public’s feeling is that Belizeans are against taking the matter to the ICJ. If a ‘no’ vote is achieved, former Guatemalan Foreign Affairs Minister, Carlos Raul Morales had advised that the Belize Government seek a legal mechanism to take the matter to the ICJ. We asked Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington if the government is prepared to accept and respect the decision of the people.
Hipolito Novelo, Love News Reporter: If a ‘no’ vote is made in the referendum what would be the next step because I believe the former Guatemalan Foreign Affairs Minister told us when we were in Guatemala City that we will have to find a legal mechanism to take the matter to the ICJ.
Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs: “Well I don’t know the former Guatemalan foreign minister thought that the only resolution was the ICJ indeed and so he seemed to have thought that maybe another chance would come up for us to go to the ICJ, but there was no thinking that there was any other solution.”
Hipolito Novelo, Love News Reporter: But is there a way where the Government would amend the constitution if there is a no vote or something that would still take the matter to the ICJ?
Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs: “I don’t know whether it requires an amendment to the constitution….”
Hipolito Novelo, Love News Reporter: Or is it possible that if the Belizean populace says no that the Government of Belize can still take the matter to the ICJ.
Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs: “The Belize Government? Belize Government acts on the instruction of the electorate and for the benefit of the electorate. I don’t think that the Government could if the electorate says no, change the constitution to do anything other than what the electorate says- we have got to be instructed and abide by what the Electorate says. It’s for that reason that we think that it is so important that in fact we put to the Belizean people the facts as we know them to be, the law as we know them to be and we make the Belizean people decide what they want.”
Several international countries are encouraging Belize to vote in favor of taking the matter to the ICJ.