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prime minister comments on belize

Touristclick Belize Travel News

prime minister comments on belize

by LoveFM

After eighteen months of negotiations to reach an agreement on the Guatemalan territorial claim over Belize, the Secretary General of the Organization of American States Jose Miguel Insulza has recommended that Belize and Guatemala take the matter to the International Court of Justice. This afternoon Love News spoke with Prime Minister Said Musa who told us that before the issue is presented before the I-C-J, the people of Belize will have to decide.

Prime Minister Said Musa:
“The negotiating process has led no where towards a settlement of this matter. Our position is first of all that we think that Belize has a very strong case legally to maintain its present borders legally without giving up one inch of Belizean territory to Guatemala. But we realize that this is a matter of national importance and therefore, before taking this decision whether or not to accept the recommendation, the Belizean people should decide that, and that is why we will be having comprehensive consultation with the people after the general elections, and also analyze this matter very carefully, and then put it to a vote by the Belizean people in a referendum as to whether or not we agree that we should go to court. In other words, we’re giving that sovereign decision to the Belizean people to decide this very issue should we settle this matter by going to court or not.”

The recommendation was made in accordance with the Agreement on Framework for Negotiations and Confidence Building Measures between Belize and Guatemala which was signed in September 2005. It was then that a new round of negotiations begun and it was agreed that if no solution was reached the O-A-S will ask the parties to submit the matter to the International Court of Justice or an International Arbitration.

Prime Minister Said Musa:
“If the people decide that we should go to court then the government will have to hire international lawyers to present our case. Of course we’re not beginning from scratch here. Even while we were negotiating, we have commissioned the various legal analysis and studies on this matter like Professor Lauterpacht, a very well known international jurist, who has done comprehensive work on this matter and who is firmly left to view that Belize has an iron clad case. All that has to be gone into again if we so decide to go to court and if the people so decide.”

And what happens if either the Belizean or Guatemalan people vote not to take the matter to the International Court? The Prime Minister said that means we are back to square one.

Prime Minister Said Musa:
“Belize is not going to move from where it is and neither is Guatemala. We are neighbors and we must find a way to live as good neighbors to avoid any military solution. It is out of the question to avoid as much as possible the border incidents and that is why we’re dealing incidentally with the Santa Rosa issue through the auspices of the OAS, and those people should be relocated back into Guatemala within a very short time. Also, we deal with other issues such as the illegal cutting of xate, all these things will continue no doubt in the sense that we have to continue to maintain vigilance, presence of the BDF along our border. The important thing is if the Belizean people decide if we should not go to court, we will respect that whether we’re the government or the opposition at the time. First of all I believe that this matter should not be cluttered into the election campaign. Let us treat this matter on a bi-partisan level. It’s above party politics it’s a national issue, and let us continue to treat it as such.”

For now negotiations have ceased. Musa said that from now until the matter is solved the Organization of American States will continue the confidence building measures between the two countries.

Prime Minister Said Musa:
“We have it at a clear undertaking by the secretary general of the OAS and he stands ready to continue to work with the parties with Belize and Guatemala. The organization will remain cease of the problem of the issue and we also will maintain the confidence building measures between our two countries as building measures, so I don’t have any fear that that will come to an end. I don’t believe, and certainly for Belize being much smaller than Guatemala, it is in our interest to maintain this international presence in this matter and we are very that with that presence will continue until we can find a peaceful way to solve this matter.”


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