The feature highlights the Belize Ambassador to the United States, Francisco Guiterrez’s special address to the Belizean diaspora through a special visit to the Los Angeles Belizean community on Friday September 8, 2018 at the FAME Building Hall in Los Angeles, California.
The ambassador presented a sort of olive branch to the Belizean diaspora in that his government, the Barrow administration, recognizes the contributions of Belizeans abroad to the Belizean economy and is making a call for Belizean investments from abroad.
He stressed the security of the Belizean economy despite all the problems that the three-time Barrow administration has faced since it came to power in 2008.
An enthusiastic Belizean attendance at the high profile Belizean Tenth of September ceremony listened attentively as the Belizean ambassador presented a rosy picture of the state of the Belizean nation-state.
If we are to go by what the ambassador said without addressing the refusal of his government to allow Belizeans abroad to participate in the July 2, 2018 re-registration process that is still ongoing, and could give Belizeans abroad the opportunity to vote in the April 10, 2019 Belize referendum to decide if the Guatemalan claim should go for adjudication at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), we would be mighty naive.
The ambassador also did not address the issue that the Government of Belize has allowed Guatemalans in Belize to register in the re-registration process so that they can vote in the April 10, 2019 Belize referendum that will take the Guatemalan claim to the ICJ. What kind of empty message to the Belizean diaspora is that?
It is very important that we Belizeans in the diaspora hear and document these speeches that past and present Belizean ambassadors to the U.S. have made in terms of their service to the Belizean diaspora, which they should serve by safeguarding the rights of natural-born Belizeans. We should take note because most of these speeches are mere empty promises that were rarely kept in terms of the preservation of the constitutional rights of Belizeans abroad. Rather, it appears that now naturalized Guatemalans and other Central American refugees have become Belize’s first class citizens of Belize while natural-born Belizeans at home and abroad have become second-class citizens of their own country.
We here at the “Belize Diaspora Vote” have given a hearing to the Belize ambassador’s speeches since his visit to the Los Angeles Belizean community, and we have heard him loud and clear. His message is a message from the Government of Belize, the Barrow administration, and in it we have not heard anything that should give Belizeans abroad hope that their natural-born Belizean rights are safeguarded and that Belizeans abroad will be allowed to vote in the April 10, 2019 ICJ referendum.
We will therefore conclude that the Government of Belize is still unwilling to allow Belizeans to participate in the development of Belize contrary to what Ambassador Guiterrez has said. Thus the resistance of Belizeans abroad to the Barrow administration’s anti-Belizean diaspora policies will continue until the Belizean people abroad are allowed to exercise their constitutional and democratic right to vote in Belize, hold political office, and participate fully without any discrimination against them.
Guatemalans, who should not have even become naturalized citizens of Belize, are allowed full Belizean rights as citizens of Belize and are allowed to vote, hold political office and enjoy all the privileges of Belizean nationality.
The Belize ambassador to the U.S. was silent on these most pertinent issues in regards to Belizeans living in the U.S. in his September 8, 2018 political address to the Belizean diaspora; and silence therefore is betrayal.