Okay, I advised them when I knew I shouldn’t…. I knew I shouldn’t, not because I suspected my advice was unsound, but because our big people with their swollen heads never take advice from lesser people. It really was a catch-22. I knew what they were after bikaaz when it comes to certain matters dehn like du fool, but if I told them about it, shared a dispassionate view from one who has been observing their inclination to folly when they face Guatemala, they would have ignored me. You’ve heard about ‘damned if you do and damned if you don’t’ —who bayg noh wahn get, an who noh beg noh want.
It happens that you are treated like a sucker when you have a hopeful nature. If it isn’t possible that all human beings can change, fu di betta, there is no hope for mankind. Bah, it seems that nothing changes arrogance — not hurricanes, not droughts, not even a pandemic.
I can’t believe the GoB (If Sharon hadn’t gotten bogged down in a local land quarrel she would have stoned them with rotten eggs!) told the ICJ that we were only willing to give Guatemala two months more to make their claim, when they asked for 12 additional months. Sedi Elrington told Love FM that there is nothing unusual about a country asking the ICJ to give it more time to prepare its papers. Love FM did not ask him, at least not in the segment of the interview they aired, if it was usual for countries to pressure another to meet the deadline, or why we were so mean.
The Guatemalans stated that they could use more time to prepare their claim because of the pandemic. Okay, from the 1860’s some Guatemalan malcontents started beefing about the perfectly signed, sealed, and delivered treaty of 1859, and they whipped up the froth until sometime in the 1930s it foamed out in an ugly declaration in their constitution that Belize was theirs, Belice es nuestro. What fraud! Anyway, they, they had some years to prepare their game plan.
We know that there are three Guatemalas – the indigenous peoples who are like the majority of us, a Guatemala that insists that our land belongs to them, and a third Guatemala that says we can negotiate a settlement that doesn’t involve Belize’s sacred territory but gives them rights that well, amounts to use and enjoyment.
The first Guatemala, we da breda an sista; there is no dispute there. The second Guatemala is the one that insists our territory is theirs and is belligerent in the Sarstoon; we don’t want anything to do with them until dehn chaynj dehn ways. The third Guatemala, some of us think it is possible to show them the sense, and some of us think not.
Let us backtrack a little. You remember when Ambassador Martinez returned to Belize after Sedi had signed the Special Agreement which he said was a means through which we were really helping progressive Guatemala to escape the crazy claim they had on Belize? The story was that Guatemala wanted to improve its stature in the world – we know that Guatemala is a very ambitious country, has always been, no doubt about that — and the only way that could happen would be if it put away the claim, which it couldn’t because of hawks in the territory.
So, we got the Special Agreement for “ any legal claim of Guatemala against Belize relating to land and insular territories and to any maritime areas pertaining to these territories” to be submitted “to the International Court of Justice for final settlement and that it determine finally the boundaries of the respective territories and areas of the Parties.” Aha, when Said Musa saw that land determination was included in the agreement, he was stunned.
The first Guatemala thinks that the country should just drop it, so they didn’t even participate in the referendum in that country. Nearly 75% of the Guatemalan people went fishing, farming, or to the park when they were told to go and vote.
The second Guatemala said, aha, now we got them in court we got their land, and the third Guatemala knows that the second Guatemala is dreaming about land, but it doesn’t know how it can get rights that equate to land if it doesn’t get – land. How did Belize get Guatemala into such a pickle? I’ll remind yu – we had to disgrace ourselves to get them to fall into that predicament!
Here’s why Guatemala can’t really get Belize’s land at the ICJ. In the 1968 Webster’s Proposals our land was intact, but we were to be made a satellite state of Guatemala. They would control our foreign affairs! In the 1981 Heads of Agreement, our borders remained the same, but Guatemala got all kinds of rights, including the use and enjoyment of the Sapodilla Range, which some Guatemalan big wigs must have fallen in love with.
In the “Give Peace a Chance” Maritime Areas Act of 1992, our territory remained intact, but we agreed to delimit our territorial waters, and to engage in joint exploration of the seas in the south (waters shared by us, Guatemala, and Honduras), and joint ventures that included tourism, education, and business. The Ramphal/Reichler Proposals of 2002 did not touch our territory and followed up on all that was contained in the Maritime Areas Act. All those proposals failed, but the facilitators’ work wasn’t completely in vain, because we did get the dissolution of an illegal village in our territory.
Turning to our disgrace in the deal, on May the blank 2019, we became the only people in the world to ever ask a court to determine their territory. A way back in time, the British challenged Guatemala to go to court to determine ownership of their colony, Belize. In 2019 the independent country of Belize put all its territory in limbo and agreed to have a court determine its right to exist. I won’t belabor this because my midday meal – I wish it was a nice slab of barra or a fat snappa tail soaked in onions, fat poak and coconut oil — is coming up and I don’t want to ruin it.
I told you why I voted for the dishonorable deed. My take when I read the agreement was that our leaders had backed us into a corner, a corner from which we could not extricate ourselves. I could go into the excruciating graphics of han eena lion mouth, but I think it best to leave that where it is, fu now, and turn to putting wood on this gall by leaders who rolled over and now have the brass to tell Guatemala they are asking for too much time. As the Territorial Volunteers said, they should have demanded that Guatemala back out of our part of the Sarstoon.
Long before there was the pandemic we all knew that Guatemala would ask for more time. Even without the pandemic they should have been given all the time they wanted, even another hundred years. The disease that has the world in its grip put the lid on any discussion. This pandemic is a critical matter, life and death. We are not an island; we are dependent on all the countries in our world, especially those in our neighborhood. Everything must be put aside until we all get this pandemic under our heel. They want more time, give it to them.
You knew I would get to the truth. There could be two. Yes, the first one is arrogance, shoa-aaf. After we acquiesced to everything Guatemala asked for, now we di play big. It’s just impossible to buy this decision to limit their time. Are we the ones making a claim on another people’s land?
The other reason why Belize disgracefully pushed for two months instead of agreeing to the one year our neighbor asked for, is that one man and his clique feel that forcing Guatemala’s hand fits his leadership ambition. The six-month delay to which the ICJ agreed lowers Sedi’s chances of winning the UDP leadership position because it pushes his “ace” to the backburner. It’s real that some people might not yet see through the shame of the Special Agreement.
In fairness to Sedi’s candidacy, the UDP is now a total washout, a disaster, and he does have human decency to bring to the table. I don’t think it worth mentioning that Eamon Courtenay is pounding the stuffings out of him every time they face off in the courtroom. Boy, yesterday, when Sedi was young, he used to win all his cases. Now he is losing all, and he and his party are worse than everything we hated in the PUP.
Diverting from this flabbergasting demand for two months only, you know Belize has a mada huge worry ahead. The last time a government fell into total disgrace was the Blue in 2008, and the UDP, instead of doing right for a people that so desperately needed good governance, compounded the felony. These daam Reds trampled our democracy, spent the money like ih kyaahn done, and re-wrote the book on how to get away with corruption. If the PUP wins the next election, could they possibly do worse?