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COLA Wants Clarity on the ICJ and Referendum Exercise

Wednesday saw the closing of the 46th General Assembly meeting of the Organization of American States, held in Santo Domingo.  As we reported earlier this week, there was a declaration approved by the OAS in which Belize and Guatemala have committed to ongoing efforts to find a peaceful solution to the border dispute.  Belize’s Foreign Minister, Wilfred Elrington who spoke at the assembly noted that Belize is working with Guatemala to see that this matter is resolved successfully at the International Court of Justice at the quickest time and to ensure that between now and then that there is peace between the people of both countries. That statement has become a sticking point for several persons as it is being pointed on social media and today, the Coalition Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) has issued a statement on the issue.  COLA’s release stated, quote, “Recently the Government of Belize has been pushing its ICJ agenda abroad – not a REFERENDUM Agenda but an ICJ agenda.”  COLA’s President, Geovanni Brackett spoke to the media on the matter.

In addition to those demands, COLA is asking for a full and intensive clarification of the situation in the Sarstoon, saying that contrary to what Government continues to report, Belizeans have not and clearly will not be allowed into the river.

Brackett says COLA has therefore made demands through this release with one of them being a clarification on the referendum issue.  COLA went on to speak on the Referendum Act, noting, quote, “Guatemala has requested that our government amend the Referendum Act to allow a simple majority to pass the vote. Currently the threshold is at 60%. COLA categorically rejects any amendment to our Referendum Act (1) to accede to a request from Guatemala and (2) without full and proper consultation with the Belizean people. It seems that all concessions in this entire negotiation process have been made by Belize while Guatemala plays puppet-master.”