Features — 25 July 2018
The consequence of  the preposterous question

Those who are standing firm on the “No to the ICJ” position, say that Foreign Minister Sedi Elrington was “handed” the compromis, and he was excited, over-eager, when he signed it. Former Prime Minister, Said Musa, was surprised when he learned what Sedi Elrington had signed. Briefly, just for a reminder, Musa, in his book, “With Malice Toward None,” asked: “Since Guatemala is the one that is claiming, why were they not required to define their claim with specificity before the compromis was signed?”

Musa said that Guatemala had been given too much room to manoeuver. He said that the PUP had already “boxed in” Guatemala. He said the UN, in 1975, had “already circumscribed the scope of the Guatemalan claim to Belize when it declared that Belize was to become independent with all its territory and with security.”

Despite Sedi (and the UDP) “giving too much room” to Guatemala, maybe we should give him credit for signing the compromis, because it is in our best interest to get Guatemala to get over its claim, and the sooner that is done, the better. The facts say that if Guatemala is really going to the ICJ to claim our land, they are not standing on terra firma.

However, getting us to go YES to the ICJ is proving to be very costly. It is the consequence of the preposterous question. Sedi is in water that is way over his head. At times,every word from his mouth dilutes our position. At the time he signed the agreement to go to the ICJ, there were matters about the maritime areas to negotiate, and there were a few other points that we had agreed to negotiate. These issues to resolve are contained in the Ramphal/Reichler proposals of 2002. Then he took the reins.

It can’t get any more preposterous than saying we are going to the ICJ because we are afraid of Guatemala because they have a big army. We, like all right thinking people, absolutely, absolutely do not want to go to war. But we are not afraid of Guatemala because of the size of their army. We are afraid of going to war with any country, because war is just for oligarchs. They don’t fight. It is only the children of the proletariat who go to the front lines.

There are a few Belizeans on the “no” side who say that a “no” can never end in war. They are not exactly standing on rock. But a “yes” can end in war too. If Guatemala asks for land at the ICJ, it will lose. Their oligarchy could decide to beat their weapons into plow shares. But we know they use their army to insulate themselves from their people, so they can’t do that. One can never trust a neighbor who insists on maintaining a large army. You always have to be on the lookout for them.

There are reckless, greedy, racist leaders in this world. Yes, even with a negotiated settlement we’ll have to be on the lookout. I will say as little as possible about actual war. There is a tremendous amount of intrigue in our region. The Guatemalan oligarchy cozies up to Israel, but they are not Israel. They do not have the Biblical advantage. It would not be a one round fight. Ouch, this is a tack Sedi absolutely must stay away from. He could provoke us into saying things we don’t want to say.

There is a reason why people who aren’t filled with hate, negotiate. It is wrong to play with people’s lives. People are not collateral. You can tell that to Satan.

This agreement (compromis), it looks like a preposterous proposition for our country to go to court on. The “possibility” of losing the entire country, or partition, dismemberment, why, not even the Webster’s Proposals went that far. True, we would have changed one colonial master for another, but because we are politically and socially very different, such an arrangement would have led to serious unrest and they would have had to leave.

However, nothing under the sun is all bad. It is the preposterousness of the agreement that swayed a significant faction of the Guat oligarchy to bite in. You bet they have elements that preferred a non-court solution.

My, they sent a guy, equipped with a video camera, to make a documentary listing all the fabulous prizes they would be winning. It is true that it is a tricky thing to give people false hopes; yes, it is true that we might not be entirely insulated when the fallout comes.

It is so, that nothing in this life comes without risk. God must like brinkmanship. He is supernatural, and that must be very boring. What do you do for entertainment when you know what will happen before it does? Hn, we are His little roulette pieces, to spice things up. I hope He never runs sweat for people who are “swell up” with pride and arrogance.

The preposterousness of the agreement is what has the Foreign Minister saying so many disappointing things. He keeps trying to defend his “artificial” border, when no one is questioning the technical rightness of his statement. What he has not, and cannot address, is the “political” rightness of such a pronouncement, especially from the mouth of the Foreign Minister of a country that is threatened by a bully neighbor.

The preposterousness of the agreement is what has our political leaders sneakily advancing the rights of naturalized Guatemalan and passport citizens to vote in the existential referendum, and denying the rights of Belizeans abroad to vote in an existential referendum in the land of their birth. Everyone of the former will vote for “peace”, and almost everyone from the latter will say “no”, at least until they have gotten a chance to study the Gordian knot from all sides.

1859 is the only treaty

The facts of the case say that Guatemala has not a chance in winning those fabulous prizes at the ICJ. The agreement allows for Guatemala to bring “any and all” its legal claims…Bah, all this Spain talk is so much red herring. If Guatemala brings Spain to the ICJ, it will be embarrassed out of the court.

Belize has only one agreement with Guatemala, and that was in 1859. This agreement was further cemented in 1931, and acknowledged by the newest big power in our region, the United States of America, in 1933.

If you look at the 1859 agreement, the first six articles are set out in detail. Article Seven, the cart road, is a loose business agreement. It didn’t specify any details about the design of the cart road. It couldn’t say where on the Atlantic coast it would lead. But they were agreed that it would be done “conjointly”, and that it was for the “material prosperity” of both countries.

The British Parliament saw the first estimates as a clear hustle, for British and Guatemalan businessmen. The next estimate was more reasonable. British businessmen in Belize, and Guatemalan businessmen, might have decided that there wasn’t sufficient hustle in it.

That cart road business is a complicated story. There are a number of threads here, a lot of little questions that pop up. One is that Guatemala wanted it so they could push more people into Puerto Barrios, so they could “occupation” Honduras out of the area.

But the Guatemalan government left it to languish.There is a story that Guatemala was very busy with an issue with El Salvador. But a road linking business/national interests to the Atlantic was clear on the other side of that country.
One question has a clear answer: 1859 wasn’t for Guatemala relinquishing their paper claim from the Sibun to the Sarstoon.

Carrera was no weakling

Belizeans who talk about the British bullying Guatemala over this cart road have inferiority complex because we were given independence, because we did not take up arms and wrest it from the British. America has that over us. They fought the British and won their independence. We know the British could have kicked their butts, had they, the British, decided to concentrate their forces in that country. But that isn’t relevant. The Americans earned the right to wave their flag in our faces.

This local talk, of British bullying Guatemala about the cart road is untrue. President Rafael Carrera (1844-1848, 1851-1865) was no weakling.There are a number of reasons why the strongman of Central America, Carrera, wanted defined borders with Belize. www.britannica.com says, of Carrera, that, “In 1854 he abolished elections and became president for life. Under Carrera adventurers from Nicaragua led by William Walker were repulsed, two attempts by Mexico to annex Guatemala were thwarted, and the territorial expansion of British Honduras was limited.”

Related Articles

Share

About Author

Deshawn Swasey

(0) Readers Comments

Comments are closed.