The following are excerpts from the ICJ page, “www.icj-cij.org/en/how-the-court-works”. The page says, on the matter of contentious cases, that “only States (Members of the United Nations and other States which have become parties to the Statute of the Court or which have accepted its jurisdiction under certain conditions) may be parties” to such cases.
The page continues, “The Court is competent to entertain a dispute only if the States concerned have accepted its jurisdiction in one or more of the following ways: (1), by entering into a special agreement to submit the dispute to the Court; (2) by virtue of a jurisdictional clause…; (3), through the reciprocal effect of declarations made by them under the Statute, whereby each has accepted the jurisdiction of the Court as compulsory in the event of a dispute with another State having made a similar declaration…”
And, “A case may be brought to a conclusion at any stage of the proceedings by a settlement between the parties or by discontinuance. In case of the latter, an applicant State may at any time inform the Court that it does not wish to continue the proceedings, or the two parties may declare that they have agreed to withdraw the case. The Court then removes the case from its List.” (emphasis mine)
Belize has two high hurdles to get over to a YES vote. The first is, how do you go to court with someone who is claiming your entire country, and the second is, how do you go to court with someone who is claiming half of your country?
I will forego the first question, except to say it is indeed a very difficult thing. The second question is impossible. If Guatemala is claiming land, Belize can only go to the ICJ if that country is claiming ALL of it. Guatemala may threaten us. It has. Guatemala may invade us. We cannot turn our backs on this military monster. Guatemala must not be allowed to divide us. We go to the ICJ as ONE NATION, or not at all. We da one, from the Hondo to the Sarstoon, from Benque Viejo to Half Moon.
Belize doesn’t know what Guatemala will claim. Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington told some youth on Open Your Eyes on Channel Five, that Guatemala claims the entire country. He didn’t absolutely lie, but he was very far from the truth. At times they have claimed the entire country, at times they have claimed from the Sibun to the Sarstoon, at times they have asked for the Rio Grande to the Sarstoon, at times they have asked for money, in British pounds, with interest. (The British reportedly offered from the Moho, and they most likely had discussed the matter with Guatemala. Belize said not a square centimeter.)
The compromise allows Guatemala to claim whatever they want. Former PM, Said Musa, said that the compromis gave Guatemala too much space to operate. He said that Guatemala should have stated what it was claiming. If they had been made to do so, Belize would have known exactly what it was agreeing to on April 10, 2019. Of course, if Guatemala claims land it doesn’t matter, because our territory is signed, sealed, it’s ours.
There is no treaty that gives Guatemala a valid claim on Belize. If it’s geography, then every country that doesn’t have perfect access to the sea on both sides should claim their neighbor. Guatemala, having the Peten, has an argument that has to do with geography. They say that the Peten, a part of it, would be more economically viable if it had access to the sea on the Atlantic side. It’s basic that you can’t block a neighbor from the sea. We can come to a reasonable agreement. The Ramphal/Reichler was such an agreement. Guatemala nixed that.
US intelligence said that Guatemala was afraid that Mexico would absorb Belize, and then take the Peten. Guatemala has acknowledged that it was afraid that the British would expand and take the Peten. So, to defend the Peten, Guatemala made a claim on a territory, Belize, that none of its leaders had ever set foot on.
I guess it’s natural for Guatemala to try and squeeze out what they can from us. Hence all their contortions, from the Hondo, to the Sibun, to the Rio Grande, to British pounds, with interest. It would serve Guatemala’s interest if we are divided.The best scene for Guatemala is to see us tear at each other, the YES versus the NO, the NORTH and CENTRAL versus the SOUTH.
It is not an easy road, but we can control the climate for division. The best defense is preemptive. Guatemala will put forward its claim after we vote YES. The world should be informed, before we go to the polls, that if Guatemala is claiming land, they must claim ALL of it.
Our culture, our economy, our love for all our tribes, our justice system, is different from Guatemala’s. Belize is ONE NATION. We don’t hate Guatemala, but we are Belizeans, and from Hondo to Sarstoon we stand together. If Guatemala claims land, it must claim ALL. If they make to divide us, we tell the ICJ we have decided on “discontinuance.”
“Wait” brok down bridge
People who are suspicious look at the trend, from Webster’s to Ramphal/Reichler, and say that “wait” is the way to go. Guatemala becoming more civilian, they say, only 25% of Guatemalans showing interest and voting in their referendum, they say, Belize getting her independence despite Guatemala’s resistance, they say, all these things add to profit in waiting, they say. We have to withdraw Belize’s independence from the productive side of waiting. Belize got its independence by moving forward.
Suspicion can cause such paralysis we forget to do our homework, forget to open our eyes and see the true picture before us. Belize’s position has become stronger because Belize made the right decisions. The settlement made the right decision in 1797, and it made the right decision to become a Crown Colony in 1862, from the Hondo to the Sarstoon, and it made the right decision to go for independence in 1981. (Great Britain first sent an official to the area in the late 17th century, but Belize was not formally termed the “Colony of British Honduras” until 1840. It became a Crown Colony in 1862. (from Wikipedia))
We could have cut and run in 1798, we could have delayed Crown Colony status in 1862, and we could have delayed independence in 1981. In 1798, we called for help from Jamaica, in 1862 we made a formal arrangement with the British, and later, when we moved toward independence, we went to the nations of the world. They did because our cause was right. We made the right decisions.
There is nothing we can do to make Guatemala’s military go away. But we can pin them back farther. They somehow didn’t get the full message when the United Nations declared for Belize in 1981. Now they have decided to go against the world. The bully is clearly on the wrong side of the street. But some people are saying we should wait until they get back to unexposed turf.
Somebody has to tell these “waiters” that nowhere in the book of virtues hesitation gets the prize. Patience is a virtue, but “wait” brok down bridge.
Danny excused for reasonable retaliation
I had thought that Danny Jimenez had disgraced the Police Department when he was sent to the showers during a football game this weekend. It doesn’t matter what you did in your past, what kind of discipline (lack of) you had, when you put on the uniform of the Police, or the BDF, or the Coast Guard, you understand that your temper is not to show.
Danny Jimenez is one of Belize’s best players. What is more important is that he is a brother of Orlando Jimenez. Orlando was the acknowledged best player in Belize, when he told the FFB that football was not bigger than Belize. You remember the FFB. They led a group of young, innocent footballers to play a Belize home game on Guatemalan soil. You don’t get to become the best at anything without making great sacrifice. Orlando was at the very top. He put his country first. He is a hero. It mattered that Danny, his brother, would exhibit such poor discipline.
The report I have is that Danny was bitten by an opponent, the man in the middle did not punish the biter, and Mr. Jimenez reportedly threw an elbow. If the report I have is correct, then the referee board should rescind Mr. Jimenez’s red card.
Just a little more football. It was just incredible that whoever is in charge, set Mr. Reid in the middle of the game between Bandits and Verdes on Saturday. We recall that Mr. Reid made an unbelievable error during a game between BDF and Verdes last season. You don’t have to go to the school Ms. Claudia Cayetano went to, to know that Mr. Reid would hesitate many times before giving any critical call Verdes’ way.
I did not say that anything Mr. Reid did, affected the outcome of that game. It was just flat out wrong to put him in that position. People are not robots.There were other games on the weekend that he could have officiated.
(Ed. NOTE: We’re happy the columnist reminded us of Orlando Jimenez’s courage and patriotism. Likewise, we must remember to mark Danny Conorquie’s heroism and martyrdom next month.)