Belize obtained its independence on September 21, 1981; however, it still has not been able to enjoy full sovereignty with Guatemala’s unfounded claim still pending. However, it is hoped that in April of 2019, we will be one step closer to solving the dispute, when Belize will vote in a referendum to take the matter to the International Court of Justice. Earlier this year in April, Guatemala held a referendum where its citizens voted yes to take Guatemala’s unfounded claim to Belize to the International Court of Justice. Belize will have its turn in the next few months. During his New Year’s speech, the Prime Minister last thoughts were about the April 10, 2019 Referendum.
Honorable Prime Minister Dean Barrow: “There is one other issue facing us in 2019 that people may see as a challenge. I am talking about the National Referendum on whether to go to the International Court of Justice. The objective of this would be to end any questioning of sovereignty to obtain a legally binding reaffirmation of the scantily of our known long established borders and territorial integrity. My own yes position is based on my conviction or rather my certainty that Belize would comprehensively win and Guatemala would comprehensively lose at the ICJ. Those who talk about litigation risk needs to be assured that the ICJ is obliged in its decisions to keep sovereign countries in tact. The ICJ is thus completely bound by international law and its rigidly applied self determination principles and those principals uphold absolutely Belize’s right to live in peace within its 1859 borders. Those principles further make clear that there cannot be even the slightest variation from our boundaries. I therefore appeal to Belizean’s to fear not and therefore proceed with absolute assurance to the April 10th Referendum polls, this is the most important national decision we will make for generations to come and whichever way it goes it will be a supreme reflection of Belizean maturity, Belizean democracy, Belizean wisdom. These three: maturity, democracy, wisdom are but constance’s of our country and it is these constance’s that will make the referendum results whatever it is, ultimately acceptable to all Belizean for it is they, these constants that allow us to face all our issues with the sure and certain knowledge that in 2019 and beyond Belizean strength, Belizean actualism and Belizean unity will always prevail.”