Continued from page 31 of the Friday, November 9, 2018, issue #3226 of the Amandala
He further clarified that since Guatemala has already declared their non-adherence to the treaty, the minute Belize votes to give the ICJ judges the power to redefine our boundaries, this ipso facto also signifies our non-adherence to the immutable borders that the treaty had established. Therefore if we vote “yes to the ICJ” in the upcoming referendum it is farcical to argue that the 1859 Treaty will be our impenetrable shield against the Guatemalan territorial claim.
So then, if we vote not to go to the ICJ in the April referendum, what if any are our other options? To start with, we could display all the documentary video evidence we have recorded of the Guatemalan Armed Forces aggression and brazen violation of our territorial waters in the Sarstoon. These could be shown to the members of the General Assembly at the United Nations. And since these actions are paramount to an act of war by Guatemala, we could justifiable ask the General Assembly, in the interest of peace, to vote on a resolution to have the ICJ give an Advisory Opinion on the validity of our borders with Guatemala as were established by the 1859 Treaty.
Going this way rather than thru the Security Council would forestall the formidable friends of Guatemala from using their veto power to block the resolution. Such an affirmation of the validity of our borders with Guatemala [which is really the case proponents of the positive persuasion misleadingly argue] would undermine the progress they have already made towards dismembering our Jewel and simultaneously take the wind from their sail.
It would really be immaterial if Guatemala then still refuses to accept the ICJ’s Advisory Opinion. We would still derive the same enhanced security from the international community. Pursuing this comparatively risk-free option might well be our best initial choice in pursuing an acceptable solution to the territorial differendum.
Now the distinguished Mr. Compton Fairweather, appearing on a recent Love TV morning show, after having outlined the strength of a case based on the validity of the 1859 Treaty to show why we should vote “yes to the ICJ”, opined that the United Nations Security Council does not entertain requests for the ICJ to give Advisory Opinions as many of the No-to-the-ICJ persuasion have advocated as a viable alternative option.
However, the following excerpt is taken from the ICJ’s website. “The International Court of Justice acts as a world court. The Court’s jurisdiction is twofold: it decides, in accordance with international law, disputes of a legal nature that are submitted to it by States (jurisdiction in contentious cases); and it gives advisory opinions on legal questions at the request of the organs of the United Nations, specialized agencies or one related organization authorized to make such a request (advisory jurisdiction). In accordance with Article 96, paragraph 1, of the Charter of the United Nations “[t]he General Assembly or the Security Council may request the International Court of Justice to give an advisory opinion on any legal question”.
It is further written that, “Despite having no binding force, the Court’s advisory opinions nevertheless carry great legal weight and moral authority. They are often an instrument of preventive diplomacy and help to keep the peace… and thereby to the strengthening of peaceful relations between States.”
I also understand that the distinguished Dr. Assad Shoman who, in addition to his other impressive accomplishments, had negotiated and signed the Heads of Agreement which had sparked the 1981 riots, will soon be joining the official campaign. It might be instructive to view the You tube video clip showing the Stewart Krohn interview with Assad Shoman and Odinga Lumumba on the 1981 Heads of agreement riots.
As our potentially fatal 10 April 2019 appointment with destiny fast approaches let us list and consider the following actions taken by those we have empowered to lead, govern, defend our nation and uphold its constitution since we attained independence in 1981.
They endorsed a Special Agreement with Guatemala which empowers the ICJ to change our hitherto firmly established and internationally recognized boundaries. This was done without first consulting the people and is a clear violation of our constitution, as only parliament with the requisite majority vote is authorized to change our boundaries.
They changed the agreed upon simultaneous referenda date so that Guatemala could vote first, well knowing that they would vote “Yes, “ and thereby effectively placed us in a position where a “No” vote on our side will ostensibly afford Guatemala the moral high ground that can be used by them to give us a black eye in the international community.
They removed the validity threshold from our referendum law so that even if only one person votes the country becomes committed. Yet they have failed to make the result binding so that as it now stands even if a “No” vote prevails, they are still legally able to proceed to the ICJ as they have already committed to do.
In 1992 they allegedly issued a joint statement with Guatemala dissolving the international boundaries between the two countries. If this is true, it is paramount to the abrogation of the 1859 Treaty.
They signed on to the OAS-inspired Confidence Building Measures of which Gustavo Adolfo Orellana Portillo of Guatemala in a seminal background and study of the Special Agreement wrote, “I consider that this agreement is a success for Guatemala because the Belizean Government itself has acknowledged that a boundary line marked by countries by mutual agreement does not exist yet and that, in consequence, a territorial dispute yet remains to be resolved. Right before entering into the Confidence Building Measures, the Government of Belize had sustained that its boundaries were defined by that established by the Anglo-Guatemalan Convention of 1859. But the fact that they are content to accept setting up of the Adjacency Line, means that Belize recognized that this is not the international boundary line between both countries, which will be taken into account by the International Court of Justice at the moment of issuing its judgment”.
They are using taxpayers’ money and donations from the “Friends of Belize” to conduct a one-sided education campaign geared to produce a “Yes” vote while muddying the waters by presenting arguments predicated on the strength of the validity of the 1859 Treaty while ignoring the fact that only what is contained in Articles 2&5 of the Special Agreement will be considered by the judges at the ICJ.
They have engaged the leaders of our security forces to promote their cause while at the same time invoking the specter of war to intimidate those of the No-to-the-ICJ persuasion.
They have failed to sufficiently internationalize the blatant aggression and flagrant violation of our territorial integrity by the Guatemalan Armed Forces. Indeed they have demonstrated greater readiness to institute draconian measures to control and suppress those whom they were elected to serve rather than to effectively confront the belligerent bully on our doorstep.
They have failed to formally repeal the Maritime Areas Act which, as it now stands, will place us at a disadvantage should we go to the ICJ.
They have transformed a national existential crisis into a political issue by declaring sides and are actively using the resources of the state to promote their position when their cause and ours would have been best served by remaining neutral.
They are ardently trying to convince us that our one and only intelligent and best option is to vote “Yes-to-the ICJ” in upcoming referendum while ignoring the fact that there is at least one other viable and comparatively risk-free alternative option as was before mentioned.
In continuation I note that proponents of the “yes to the ICJ “campaign are presently using to promote their agenda, the advantage our leaders have given Guatemala by agreeing for them to hold their referendum first. They are now trying to scare us into blindly falling in panic upon the ICJ sword that the devious OAS-drafted Special Agreement has set for us. They posit that if we fail to vote “yes” in the April referendum, unstoppable hordes of Guatemalan settlers will cross our western border, since unlike peace-loving Guatemala, we will have refused to settle the claim at the ICJ.
Well, if we vote “yes “ they will come anyway, except that then we will have absolutely no hope at all of stopping them – since they will be on Guatemalan soil. Additionally a “no” vote in the referendum does not signify our unwillingness to go to the ICJ. It would simply mean that we obviously wish to avoid the trap that this Special Agreement has set for us and furthermore, any country whose morality is above reproach will respect and not condemn us for making the logical decision.
Finally, let’s be clear about one thing. A “yes to the ICJ” vote in the upcoming referendum signifies your willingness to surrender over half of your country to Guatemala. In return you may receive their recognition of what remains, provided that they are also satisfied with the “rights” over our sovereignty the court may also grant them. If you are OK with this, I can only conclude that you have your reason.
For those of us who may find that giving away our country to conciliate and appease the disdain and avarice of insidious others is a price too high, let me remind you that we alone are ultimately responsible for the survival and the defense of our country. This entails having a valiant military ever ready to defend our country at all costs and leaders and diplomats willing and able to promote our cause internally and most importantly on the international stage.
We cannot realistically expect anyone to come to our defense while we display cowardice in the face of the enemy. Allowing Guatemala to exercise effective control over our territory in the Sarstoon just does not cut it. I am not suggesting that we go to war with them, but we have sufficient video evidence of their actions to teach them the sense if we made a sincere effort to sensitize the international community of their belligerence and constant violation of our territorial integrity.
In closing, I hope that the facts presented in this document will add a little clarity to this existential crisis and thereby assist you in making a nonpartisan and truly informed decision on 10th April 2019. May God protect our precious Jewel from those internal and external predators whose diabolic objective is its dismemberment.