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Deputy PM says Political Elements in Bar while former UWI Professor drafts ICJ Opinion

Stephen Vasciannie is a Jamaican law professor and politician who had served as a diplomat as well as a Deputy Solicitor-General and principal of the Norman Manley Law School. Vasciannie proffered his services to the Bar Association of Belize several weeks ago to pen a legal opinion on Belize’s territorial dispute with Guatemala. His position should have been delivered to the Bar today, but the attorneys have been silent. We asked Deputy Prime Minister Faber if an independent view would sway his mind about the Bar but he told us that political elements were already inside the bar so the Professor’s view would not sway him.

Honorable Patrick Faber: “It will not change my position as an individual. As you know I am supporting a yes vote. I don’t think it will affect the NDP’s Position, I don’t think it will affect the Government’s position. You know without wanting to get into any hot water with the BAR there are political elements in these entities so while it is definitely going to be as you have said an opinion coming from outside the BAR itself, I am interested to see what will happen but if it goes in a negative direction it is of no surprise to me. It does not change my position.”

Jose Sanchez: “Not many people are aware that initially when the legislation was met regarding referendum it should have been a minimum 60% of the electorate. Has that truly been changed to a majority of the voters who are present to make a referendum binding?”

Honorable Patrick Faber: “We did amend the law yes to amend for a 50% vote in that referendum to carry, I am not sure that is what makes it binding. I think what makes it binding is there is a portion of that piece of legislation that says on matters that are crucial and it specifically speaks about issues like the Guatemalan issue that whatever comes out of such an issue or referendum would be binding by the Government but by large when a referendum is held the results are not binding necessarily but in this case it is.”

Jose Sanchez: “Are you brief on other ICJ decisions where most people said no we don’t need to worry about territorial seas but the case of Colombia and Nicaragua where Colombia was able to reaffirm through treaties its ownership of islands near Nicaragua that just went for islands but then the ICJ decided that the seas and the ocean surrounding the islands.”

Honorable Patrick Faber: “Every case I see that there is now, circulated from Nigeria is about a case where they were involved but every case has its unique situations and it is very difficult for you too look at other examples and say see this is what happened on either side for that matter because I am sure that some of the yes people use cases to show that as points for their argument.”

The Referendum Unit continues its campaign across the country. Celebrities including the dearly departed Philip Goldson is being promoted on billboards for the April 10 referendum.