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Deputy Prime Minister says yes to the ICJ

With Guatemala saying yes to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), it is expected that the Belizean Government and its people will be pressured by the international community to also vote ‘yes’. The United Kingdom’s Ambassador to Guatemala has welcomed Guatemala’s ICJ results and encouraged the Belizean Government to holds its referendum soon and quote, “maintain the momentum towards a lasting and peaceful solution to this dispute. In Belize, the public’s sentiments on the topic is mixed. Some quarters of society strongly oppose going to the ICJ, while some support Government’s decision to have the ICJ resolve the centuries old dispute. While the campaign in Belize has commenced, it has not intensified as we recently saw in Guatemala. The Government has budgeted about eight million dollars for its campaign this year, but, more will be needed according to Belize’s Ambassador to Guatemala, Alexis Rosado. The referendum unit has not been very much active, especially since the official departure of Stuart Leslie, who Ambassador Rosado confirmed, is still contributing to the campaign. That campaign is expected to be ramped up next year with the hopes that the Belizean public is fully engaged and informed on the topic said Deputy Prime Minister, Patrick Faber.

Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister: “There are allocations made for this campaign and that we in fact require and are seeking the assistance of everybody but especially the media and our various social groups and institutions across the country to help us to put the message out.”

Alexis Rosado, Ambassador of Belize to Guatemala: “What we have done is started to let them be aware already that we will be stepping up our campaign and that we will be needing resources. We are doing the same with our own Minister of Finance so they are already on alert that we will need additional funding and hopefully depending on the results here we will be able to convince cabinet and the Ministry of of Finance to prop us up.”

Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister: And in that regard we also want to appeal to all Belizeans, even those who have been a part of movements to say ‘you know what ? No to the ICJ’ let us listen to both sides of the argument, let us not be quick to jump on any side. Let us for once in our lives study situations carefully, listen to arguments on both sides, not just a bandwagon and if at the end of the day your position is yes and if at the end of the day your position is no then go with it but don’t follow blindly.”

Alexis Rosado, Ambassador of Belize to Guatemala: “Clearly there is a thirst for people to learn more and clearly there is a need for the government to do more but it’s not just the Government’s responsibility. I think all of us as a people as Belizeans need to do more to help others to understand but also to understand ourselves. But so far we have not doing polls or survey or so, something we have to do but not as far as I’m aware. We did one in 2013 I believe and it was largely positive. I think it was nation wide but very small groups of people across the country and it was to many people’s surprise positive. I don’t know how it would be now. I don’t know if it was published but certainly the referendum unit a the time Ambassador Murphy and Ambasador Leslie would have certainly mentioned it if not they did not publish the whole thing.”

Reporter: Has his departure from the Referendum Unit weakened the unit ?

Alexis Rosado, Ambassador of Belize to Guatemala: “Certainly it’s a big miss but bear in mind that he hasn’t left us entirely, he is still committed and engaged in making presentations and explaining to people what is going on so he’s still very much a part of it except that he is now informally doing so, unofficially doing so.”

Belize is expected to carry out its referendum after the re-registration exercise is completed.