Letters — 20 July 2016
Letter to the Editor: Dismembering The Jewel

Dear Editor,

Recently, I have been thinking of something my mother used to tell us as children when an object of value fell and broke. She would say, “Save the pieces”. Looking back I think her reason for this request was to see if the treasured possession could be mended if the pieces were saved. Let us now turn to the topic of this correspondence.

There is an overwhelming preponderance of facts and opinions from very learned and intelligent persons supporting the position that Belize has a virtually iron-clad defense for clearly defined boarders with Guatemala and sound legal title to the territory it occupies. Those who support our Government’s decision to go to the ICJ have used this argument in support of their position. I find this to be very sound reasoning and I do agree with them that we could easily prevail at the ICJ if this were the question the ICJ will be asked to decide. Unfortunately however, under the Special Agreement our leaders have made with Guatemala, this is not the case.

Article Two of this agreement with Guatemala states: “The Parties request the Court to determine in accordance with applicable rules of international law as specified in Article 38(1) of the Statute of the Court any and all legal claims of Guatemala against Belize to land and insular territories and to any maritime areas pertaining to these territories, to declare the rights therein of both Parties, and to determine the boundaries between their respective territories and areas.”

Clearly this is asking for far more than just a legal verification for the existence of a clearly defined border with Guatemala and a legally valid title to the territory we presently know as Belize. The harsh reality is that we are being deceived by means of clever and artful misdirection, into empowering the ICJ to legally compel us to cede a portion of our territory to Guatemala to satisfy its claim. Now the only viable legal claim that Guatemala may have arises from the non-fulfillment by the British of Article 7 of the 1859 Anglo/Guatemalan border convention, and they may indeed have a valid claim for reparation. Why else would The British have offered them monetary compensation?

So the crucial question arises, why should an independent Belize, under the guise of getting the Guatemalan monkey off its back, be made to offer its territory as a sacrificial lamb on the ICJ‘s altar, to compensate Guatemala for a British obligation? In the 2000 opinion given by the legal luminaries who were commissioned to report on the validity of the Guatemalan claim, there is absolutely no legal justification or moral obligation, for an Independent Belize to be so burdened.

So why then are we being railroaded, under terms inimical to our territorial integrity as articulated in the aforementioned agreement, to the ICJ? Well, compadre, to put it simply, the big boys on the block and the other global external entities in high places with their self-serving profit-making agendas have begun to covet the “wealth untold” in the southern half of The Jewel. With assistance from their internal neo-liberal accomplices and fifth columnists, they have already begun the dismemberment of The Jewel by chipping off the southern tip. They and their accomplices know that if they are allowed to continue to exercise effective control of the Sarstoon River, unopposed by an acquiescent Belize, they will have proved their case for sovereignty by the time the ICJ decides the matter.

And make no mistake, Joe: we are going to the ICJ. Like the sleight-of-hand deception being used to make the case for going to the ICJ, the referendum, in my opinion, offers us only the illusion of choice. The monkey on our back will get its bananas. When the gavel at the ICJ falls, The Jewel will be permanently and irreversibly split and dismembered with the most valuable portion going to the enemy, and it will then be an exercise in futility to try and “save the pieces” as my mother used to recommend, because all the king’s horses and all the king’s men…Do you hear the plaintive strains of Taps playing in the distance?

Sidley Leslie

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