The move to treat the Belize/Guatemala issue as a non-partisan matter, the People’s United Party under John Briceno had reached out to the Government of Belize to work together in coming up with a solution to the territorial issue. At that time, Assad Shoman was appointed as the PUP representative on the Foreign Affairs team. A few weeks later, Eamon Courtenay was named as Shoman’s replacement and with that change came the Government’s exclusion of the PUP. A press conference followed by the PUP and there it was announced that they were no longer being included in the Belize/Guatemala discussions. Shortly thereafter, Prime Minister Dean Barrow held a press conference where he stated that the exclusion was not intentional and subsequently he committed to include the opposition in future meetings. At last Friday’s rally, we spoke with Leader of the Opposition on where they are in terms of their inclusion.
“I have not met with the Prime Minister but the work has started. Senator Courtney will be going to London I think next weekend to go and look at some documents that they need to present to Guatemala to strengthen the case and Senator Lisa will be attending the OAS summit that they will have in Santa Domingo I think it’s next month in June so we have already engaged. This is a national issue, this is not party politics and we feel very strongly that we need to have one strong voice when we speak international so that they understand that we are in this together and that we are going to stand up and protect every single square centimeter of our territory.”
As we mentioned, Senator Eamon Courtenay is the PUP’s representative and according to him, up to last Friday, he was awaiting a date for the next bilateral meeting.
“I think the ball is in the government’s court, at this point in time I am not aware that any meeting has been arranged. I’m not aware that any meeting has been arranged, I’m not aware that there is any agenda or anything set. I believe that the secretary general of the OAS is trying to arrange something, there is likely to be contact at the Ministerial level in Taiwan when both foreign ministers go but I don’t think that that would be the actual bilateral meeting but time is of the essence.”