And then there are the Guatemalans who enter Belize legally and become part of the social fabric here at home. It has been happening since Belize attained independence. Most of them made the decision to renounce their Guatemalan citizenship in order to become Belizeans. But for years, that process has not been legitimate as pointed out recently by the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCC). The BCCI has written to the Government, the social partners and the Opposition Party explaining that Guatemalans do not truly renounce their citizenship and as such are not eligible to receive Belizean citizenship. Yesterday, PUP Leader, John Briceno was asked to weigh in on the matter.
John Briceno, Opposition Leader: “As I see it this is an issue of both legal and political. Legal because of the mismatch with the Belizean constitution and political because we have thousands of Guatemalan citizens that are now Belizean citizens accordingly since 1981 and what are we going to do with these people? These people by all effects they are Belizeans so what I have done is I’ve asked out legal advisor to work with our attorneys to look at this matter from a legal perspective and then to provide us some sort of guidance and secondly after we receive the legal advice then we will have to meet with our parliamentary caucus and then we will need to meet to agree on our position on this issue. But let me remind you and we need to think about this that we are talking about the lives of many people who love this country so we have to be careful and we need to make sure that we get it right.”
Applications by Guatemalans who are requesting Belizean citizenship are not being reviewed at this time.