Activist Audrey Matura Says Going to ICJ Was a Mistake for Belize
It has been four years and two months since fifty five percent of the then voting population in Belize cast their votes to take the territorial differendum with Guatemala to the International Court of Justice. The matter is well underway at the ICJ, but today, well-known attorney and activist, Audrey Matura, is saying that Belizeans made a mistake to go to the ICJ. Matura’s comments come at a time when the Belize Territorial Volunteers has called out the government on the lack of national security at the Forward Operating Base in the Sarstoon. Love News spoke with Matura on the rationale behind her comment regarding the ICJ.
Audrey Matura, Attorney: “I didn’t feel that we had our ducks in a row to go to face this challenge at this point. I didn’t think as a country now that we had put in place the strategic moves and decisions that would have strengthened our case. One of them being we should not have gone to the ICJ if we really wanted to go until we ensure that we had the money to maintain our presence there. Because remember one of our positions should be that we have maintained continued and uninterrupted presence at the Sarstoon. When our military removes itself, there were families before that were living along that coast. When they removed themselves, the Guatemalans I’m sure will have evidence that could prove that we withdrew, we abandoned presence. If you look over at the Guatemalan side they have increased presence. I have to share with you all another video where we took a tour around the Sarstoon Island and you could see that more houses have gone up on the Guatemalan side. The Guatemala establishment there, their military installation there is much bigger and at no point they close it down. So I said no because I didn’t think we were ready and I said no because also we weren’t ready in terms of what we were prepared to do to establish ourselves. We have not done that. We went prematurely and if you notice it was a political campaign that they drove against our people and the two major political parties joined forces against Belizean and they had Belizean say yesterday ICJ saying all kind of nonsense “Oh that we will resolve it once and for all and whatever.” and yet they did not know if Guatemala was only going to claim the Sarstoon, half of the country or whole of the country and my understanding is now we know that it’s the entire country and after they put in their claim they asked for extension of time to put it in late and then they also amended it up to today we don’t know what our government has done in terms of our reply and that should be a transparent issue. The same way you went to the people and said, “vote yes”, you need to come back to the people and say ” see, here’s the update for what you voted.” And they have failed us miserably.”
Belize’s referendum was held on May 8, 2019.