Features — 18 July 2018 — by Bilal Morris
BELIZE DIASPORA TOWNHALL 2018 IN LOS ANGELES!

RESISTANCE AGAINST THE VIOLATIONS OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF NATURAL BORN BELIZEANS ABROAD, THE ANGLO GUATEMALAN CLAIM OF BELIZE & THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE (ICJ)!

Belizeans in Los Angeles, California came out to the Belize Diaspora Town Hall that was held on Sunday, July 1, 2018 at the Holy Name of Jesus School in Los Angeles, addressing the Belize Re-registration process by the government of Belize on July 2, 2018 that will shut out thousands of Belizeans living abroad in the United States and across the world in the Belizean diaspora from the Belize electoral process.

The critical issue will prepare the Belizean electorate in Belize to vote in the April 10, 2019 Belize referendum that will decide if Belizeans want the Anglo-Guatemalan claim of Belize to go for adjudication to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

However, the Belize Elections & Boundaries Commission, at the direction of the government of Belize, had announced that Belizeans who live abroad would have to come home to Belize and live for two months if they wanted to be a part of the re-registration process 2018, and therefore participate in the April 10, 2019 referendum in Belize. This also means, that since Belizeans who live abroad did not meet the July 2, 2018 re-registration process in Belize that they will not be on the Belize voter registration list and therefore will not be able to vote at all in Belize elections.

The Belize Diaspora Town Hall was organized by the Belize Rural Economic Development of Agriculture through Alliance (BREDAA) to inform and educate the Belizean people in the Los Angeles Belizean community, as well as those Belizeans who live in the United States, the United Kingdom and across the world, about the unjust and inconsiderate actions of the present Barrow administration in Belize against Belizeans who live abroad who constitutionally have had the right to vote in prior elections in Belize. After July 2, 2018, these Belizeans will no longer have that right.

The panel of speakers, including BREDAA’s Nuri Akbar and the Consortium for Belizean Development’s Verona Burke, who spoke at the Belize Diaspora Town Hall, addressed the corrupted re-registration process that the government of Belize has unjustly used to shut out Belizeans abroad from participating in the July 2, 2018 re-registration process as well as criticizing the corrupt policies of the Barrow administration, its Foreign Ministry and its Immigration Department that have given Guatemalans preference over natural born Belizeans abroad. Both speakers condemned the Elections & Boundaries Commission of Belize’s unfair and illegal political policies against Belizeans abroad and demanded that the Barrow administration make future legislation in the Belize House of Representative to change its present constitutional and political violations against natural born Belizeans abroad.

They demanded that the government of Belize make legislation possible that will allow Belizeans abroad to vote in the April 10, 2019 Belize referendum to decide if the Anglo-Guatemalan claim should go for adjudication at the ICJ.

Ronny Figueroa, the Guatemalan representative, addressed the fact that it is not the Belizean and Guatemalan people who are to blame for the longstanding crisis and political conflicts that have divided the two people, but the Guatemalan and Belizean governments who negotiate terms without their consultation and approval. He called on both people to continue to work together in unity and harmony as neighbors in Central America.

In alliance with BREDAA and the diaspora voting initiative called, “The Belize Diaspora Vote”, the Belizean grassroots organization in Belize BUFEHRD (Belizeans United for Equal Rights at Home & Abroad) joined the resistance against the infamous re-registration process and its National Coordinator, Derek Aikman, addressed Belizeans at home and abroad via SKYPE from Belize about the corruption of the policy by a corrupted government in Belize that has corrupted the Belize electoral system as a means to stay in power.

Aria Lightfoot of Belizean Citizens Abroad (BCA) also addressed the Belize Diaspora Town Hall via Skype in resistance to the re-registration process on July 2, 2018 as well as issues surrounding the Belize referendum on the ICJ on April 10, 2019. She called to action for Belizeans in the diaspora to pay attention and speak out against the corrupted immigration policy in Belize that Guatemalans who have become naturalized Belizean citizens will be allowed to vote in the April 10, 2019 referendum to decide if the Anglo-Guatemalan claim will go for adjudication at the ICJ, but, that natural born Belizeans who live abroad will not be allowed to vote. She underscored the fact that the Belize constitution has specified that no Guatemalan can become a citizen of Belize as long as Guatemala continues to claim the country of Belize.

According to Radiobelizemix, some 4,200 Belizeans listened via live streaming on Facebook and YouTube to the Belize Diaspora Town Hall from their homes across the Belizean diaspora as well as in Belize. And it is expected that the number will increase much more through those who will continue to listen to the Radiobelizemix podcast of the broadcast. Many Belizeans in Belize also watched and listened to the live broadcast on KREM Television.

(Photos through the courtesy of Belizean photographer Clyde Gillett)

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