BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Apr. 11, 2019– In the midst of all the tension and unanswered questions surrounding the postponement of the April 10 ICJ Referendum, a new incident has arisen to provoke a sense of urgency in getting the matter resolved.
The European Union (EU), United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA) have issued a statement affirming their support of the referendum and their hope that it can “take place as soon as possible”.
Apart from these wishes for progression, the statement further expressed the nations’ hopes of the matter being resolved “in accordance with Belize’s legal procedures.”
The EU, UK and USA are members of the “Group of Friends of Belize-Guatemala Transition Process”, an advisory body to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), which supports the peaceful resolution of the territorial dispute between Belize and Guatemala. They also act as head financers of the “Confidence Building Measures” geared toward fostering a rapport between Belize and Guatemala leading up to the impending IJC Referendum.
On Monday, April 8, at a press conference held by Prime Minister Barrow, a question concerning the international community’s reaction to the postponement was asked, to which he replied: “The Group of Friends which funds that office always made clear that this is not a blank cheque; ‘we are doing this to get you to the point of the referendum.’
“Delays in that regard, I think, can have a far more deleterious effect in terms of if they were to become impatient and to say that they withdraw their funding, I think that would be a disaster.”