As in the past, I ask that you favour this article with the utmost of importance. It is an advice to our Government, Opposition and my Belizean people in general: “NO INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE”.
Guatemala is NOT a country that respects and abide by its words and agreements. Some may say that Guatemala did not “ratify” the 1859 Treaty Convention. While that may be so, when an agreement is made between two or more “Contracting Parties” and whether it is made verbally or in writing, it has the force of law; and in the case of the 1859 Treaty Convention between England and Guatemala, it was made in writing.
I quote the last two paragraphs which are as follows:
a) In witness whereof, the respective Plenipotentiaries “have signed and have affixed thereto the Seals of their Arms”.
b) Done at Guatemala, the 30th day of April, in the year 1859.
I ask of our two parties’ leaderships, especially our current Foreign Minister, Hon. Wilfred Elrington: What is there to discuss at the ICJ? Are you telling the citizens of this country and the world that Guatemala is justified to its unfounded and illegal claim? Are you in leadership position, knowledgeable of the “Anglo Guatemalan issue” or with all respect, are you becoming senile?
I say that you should demand of the General Assembly of the United Nations, by “Resolution” that:
a) Guatemala must respect and abide by the 30th April, 1859 Convention Treaty.
b) That in 1931, Guatemala dispatched to the United Kingdom, documents affirming their agreement to the 1859 Convention Treaty between the two countries.
c) On the 16th September, 1991, Foreign Minister Hon, Said Musa; Former Foreign Minister Hon. Dean
Barrow; and Belize’s High Commissioner to the UK, Hon. Robert Leslie, held talks in Guatemala with President Serano and Foreign Minister Alvaro Arzu. A communique came out of that meeting and I quote: 1) Guatemala acknowledges “That the claim of Guatemala is not an obstacle to the recognition of the right of the people of Belize to Self-Determination”. 2) The communique acknowledges Belize’s “initiative to limit its territorial waters to three (3) miles in its southern areas” as an act of the “Greatest Good Faith” and will in the search for appropriate mechanism to conclude the differences between the two states.
d) In 1983 in a meeting between Belize and Guatemala, with the UK as an observer, Guatemala asserted its claim to the Toledo District.
e) On 9th May 1984, Guatemala asserted claim to all of Belize.
f) In 1988, a permanent Commission was formed between Belize and Guatemala with the UK as an observer, and a consensus on a “Draft Treaty” was reached. I partially quote: “Guatemala would ACCEPT Belize’s Traditional Land Borders.”
g) In December of 1989, Belize and Guatemala in Roatan, Honduras agreed on points of land and sea boundaries.
h) On the 14th August, 1991 Guatemala recognized Belize’s right to Self-Determination.
i) On the 5th September, 1991 Guatemala recognized Belize’s Independence as a follow up to the 14th August, 1991 recognition.
j) On the 11th September, 1991 Belize and Guatemala announced the establishment of Diplomatic Relations.
k) On the 13th February, 1992 Guatemala “Formally acknowledged Belize’s Territorial Sea Rights” in the area in the Bay of Amatique.
l) In July of 1992 Belize and Guatemala agreed that any reference in any agreement to their respective territories would be made “based on the existing reference monuments enshrined in the 1859 Treaty Convention between Great Britain and Guatemala.”
With all the supposed knowledge of all the foregoing by our leaders, our not too bright or so it seems Foreign Minister, Hon. Wilfred Elrington, on the 8th December, 2008 and on the instigation of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) signed the now infamous “Compromis Agreement” to go to the ICJ.
Around the same time in 2008, a 38 page “Draft Confidential” Document came out and on one of those pages, the man who is now adamant in taking us to the ICJ “expressed fear of risk and $20 million cost when he said, and I quote: “Like in any Court of Law – THERE IS NO GUARANTEE”.
Finally, like in the long past, the Guatemalan leaders are never truthful to their agreements and they showed it again in 2015 when they got our Foreign Minister to “Amend the Compromis Agreement”.
My fellow Belizeans, if you truly love your country, put party politics and religion aside, for Belize is our patrimony and VOTE NO (when time to vote) to the ICJ. Let’s stick to the 1859 Treaty Convention that has defined our BORDERS.
Adolphus A. Rosales
(Ed. NOTE: The views of the letter writer are his own and not necessarily those of this newspaper.)