BELIZE CITY, Mon. Mar. 4, 2019– Currently, it seems that Belize has been split into two opposing camps: those who support taking the Guatemalan claim to Belize’s territory to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a final resolution in accordance with the protocols of the Special Agreement, signed between the Government of the Republic of Guatemala and the Government of Belize in December 2008 — and those who don’t.
Belizean voters are scheduled to cast ballots in a referendum on the matter on April 10, and the government of Prime Minister Dean Barrow has mounted a “Yes campaign” as part of a so-called ICJ education campaign that has included a variety of ploys to persuade voters; even Amazon’s Alexia has been featured in the “Yes to the ICJ” campaign in the government’s advertisements.
Alexia, however, cannot educate or convince Belizeans on how to vote in the ICJ referendum, because it is only an interactive program for Amazon’s smart speakers, but the Barrow administration apparently believes that national hero, Rt. Hon. George Price, can do so, even though he is not alive. It is exactly for that reason that some large billboards have suddenly begun to appear with the image of the late “Father of the Nation.”
On Central American Boulevard, the large billboard with letters in blue against a white background states, “‘National interest must override Party Politics’ — George Price, National Hero, Vote 10 April 2019.”
Those images of Price being used in the government’s ICJ campaign, however, have not been met with the approval of Price’s family, who, we understand, have asked an attorney to write Belize Ambassador to Guatemala, His Excellency, Ambassador Alexis Rosado, asking him to remove the billboards.
This afternoon when we called Ambassador Rosado and asked him whether he had received a letter from an attorney asking him to remove the billboards, the ambassador told us that he had not received such a correspondence.
We then asked him if, and when he receives the letter asking him to remove the billboards, if he would comply with Price’s family’s request.
Ambassador Rosado replied that since it is a letter from an attorney, it would have to be dealt with by the Solicitor General.
Billboards featuring another of Belize’s national heroes, Philip Stanley Wilberforce Goldson, have also been used in the government’s “Yes to the ICJ” campaign.
In his life, Goldson was anti-Guatemalan, and at great personal risk, revealed to the country 13 of Webster’s 17 proposals in 1966. The proposals were designed to incorporate Belize into Guatemala in the 1960’s, after the British got an American attorney from New York, Bethuel Webster, to mediate their territorial dispute with Guatemala.
Goldson would eventually coin the phrase: “The time to save your country is before you lose it.”