Earlier this week, Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca, told Love News that he had been notified that the Government of Belize would be signing an agreement with the Guatemalan Government to amend the Special Agreement which both countries signed back in 2008. The amendment was the idea of the Guatemala Government asking Belize to agree and let them carry their referenda at their own time and not simultaneously as what was agreed to in 2008. Belize agreed and Prime Minister Dean Barrow says they see no negative effect from the agreement. In fact, Barrow told the media that this a great move for Belize.
“I don’t understand how anyone could see that as prejudicial to Belize. The Guatemalans had come asking for change some time ago; a year and a half ago, I can’t quite remember but at that time they wanted Belize to go first and I told them no, that is not going to happen. Now they come back and they say in terms of their own time table and the election and so on they would want to go first. Well it seems to me that that is very much to Belize’s advantage. If they go first and their people say no we don’t even need to hold a referenda so if there is any pressure that arises as a consequence of the change the pressure is on Guatemala. So, in terms of the merits, I really fail to see how anybody could suggest that the change does not serve the interests of our country. I honestly do not think that this change, having been discussed with the opposition, having received the approval of the opposition was something that required a referendum, a series of public meetings? I don’t think so. There are people who disagree; I respect their position but I don’t see the change as in fact being of any material prejudicial consequence to Belize and in those sorts of circumstances, I do not feel that the decision to make the change or the decision to proceed now with the signing is the kind of thing that requires government to go about the country, in terms of some sort of formal consultation. Honestly, I think that is making too much of what, as I said, is something that in my view can do us no harm and works to our advantage.”
It was originally planned that a press release was to be drafted, sent to Fonseca for any inputs, and circulated to the media in order to notify the public of this latest development.