Yesterday we told you of the victory of Jimmy Morales, the now President-Elect for Guatemala who recently topped the presidential polls this past Sunday. Some Belizeans had become concerned over some statements made weeks ago by Morales regarding irrational approaches when it comes to claiming the portion of Belize that Guatemala claims is theirs. We asked Prime Minister Dean Barrow to weigh in on Morales’ victory and how it relates to the Guatemalan claim on Belize.
“Congratulations are due to him; there is a letter that we’ve prepared that I will send to him offering, as a matter of courtesy and in view of the special circumstances that attend the fact of our being neighbors and the fact that we have their unjust territorial claim to deal with, I am sending off a letter in which I am making plain that we remain committed to a peaceful resolution of the dispute. Let me make something clear: Mr. Morales is a neophyte, he is a novice; he has pulled off a magnificent coup in winning these elections and winning these elections, so handily and for that he is to be congratulated … But he will learn that the kind of talk that we heard from him at the start, with respect to Belize is absolutely unacceptable. Belize rejects that in its totality and if, as I believe will be the case, those around Mr. Morales will make clear to him that to proceed in good neighborliness with Belize, to proceed on the basis of respecting Belize’s territorial integrity is the only way to go. If he realizes that or let me put it another way; the soon President Elect Morales realizes that the better we will all be. We want to live in peace, we want to continue to live in peace, we want to settle the problems peacefully, we want to do so by diplomatic means. We will not be bullied and Mr.Morales needs to learn that right quick, Belize will not be bullied; let me make that absolutely clear.”
Yesterday we brought you a statement made by Morales last month in Guatemala in which he made mention of Belize and highlighting the importance of going to the International Court of Justice. Interestingly, it is a hundred and eighty degree turn when compared to his comments made some weeks prior. According to Prime Minister, he expects Morales to be advised accordingly when it comes to matters such as these.
“I believe and in fact, talking to Renee just now, before we started formally, she’s told me of some statements that he’s made that already appear to be some sort of a retreat and it’s what I had said at the start when he first made the intemperate comments that we reject. He will come up hard against reality. Obviously in the first flush of enthusiasm when he won the first round and because he is not schooled in the ways of diplomacy and even politics, he said some things that are regrettable. I am convinced that as we go forward he will recognize and accept that that is not the way to go, that is not the way to talk, that not only does Belize reject that kind of rhetoric, the international community rejects that sort of rhetoric.”
Jimmy Morales, the 46-year-old, President Elect for Guatemala is of the National Convergence Front and was a comedian prior to running for political office. He officially takes over the presidency of Guatemala on January 14, 2016 for a four year term.