Well, he took his own sweet time to do it. Said Musa might have declared before, but I didn’t hear the words direct from his mouth until he stood up and told the world on January 9, that he was YES to the ICJ. He had written, in 2008, that we allowed the Guatemalans too much space with the Special Agreement, but that didn’t change some of our minds on where he stood. Still, he had to say it. As dehnseh, betta layt than neva. Now, finally, all our big horses are in the gate.
Aha, Said Musa got a good laugh from the top level UDPeez who (as usual) packed the press conference(last week), when he said that some people were saying that he was following Dean Barrow (to the ICJ), when it was the opposite, that it was Barrow who was following him.
Naa, it wasn’t really a joke. Said Musa has been at the fore for a long time. After the vote it would be good to ask him if he would have been bold enough to sign the compromis. But that is the world of IF, and we live in a world of what IS.
Sedi Elrington has taken a beating, and he will continue to take a beating because he deserves it for all his wild pronouncements, but he can “content” himself with the fact that the world knows that despite all the chest beating of former Foreign Ministers, none of them would have been, yes, crazy enough to sign the special agreement.
When former PM/FM Said Musa saw the black and white, in 2008, he had to step back. You bet that in hindsight he knows he should have withheld his comments. I’m still not sure he would have signed it.
How do you sign a document like this, the very first of its kind in the history of the world? There is no precedent here, this invitation to go to court with your country. But, I bet the cocky Sedi was as cool as a New York cat when he put ink to paper. For a man like that, that kind of man, signing was easy. The hard part is, having signed the agreement, getting the necessary YES vote.
For us that compromis translates to cannon in NO and cannon in YES. NO takes us back to status quo, and that is not what was at the signing of the agreement. Status quo is the situation before the Adjacency Zone. We say NO, we go back there. And we’ve also lost ground with our allies and ground in future negotiations with Guatemala.
The cannon in YES is not in litigation risk, it’s not any fault in the 1859 treaty and it’s not any surprise trick that Guatemala can pull out of its old hat. The cannon in YES is how to get it!
When he realized that, Sedi panicked and started trying to frighten the people into supporting the agreement. He knows Belize can scarcely afford to say NO. He doesn’t know how to get a YES. An hihn done sign the paper.
“Eamon the bad” batting for dad
Assad Shoman was on a SediElrington type “flight of fancy” when he called out VH Courtenay for treasonous land speculations with the Guatemalans. VH Courtenay was never the Prime Minister of Belize. In negotiations behind closed doors you can chat about who really owns the moon. VH Courtenay could never have “discussed” the cession of any of our land. Eamon can rest easy that history will sift that nonsense out.
Eamon could never be a UDP. The man doesn’t have any “trust”. He didn’t have to go to bat for his dad, the Courtenay name. It cost us a 6th former Foreign Minister at the table. And bah, that “circus” bit about his five colleagues just isn’t right.
There are times when a “no comment” is more than sufficient to explain why one did not show for an occasion or participate in an event. Mr. Courtenay was in a very loud position, but he absolutely needed to be quiet.
The ring in that “circus” was very arrogant. The brother is definitely a smart lawyer. But those Ashcroft cases, naa, they are more money in his pocket but no feathers in his cap. They were gift wrapped, the sweetest pokkó for any ordinary batsman. Eamon has become a very big man, and much richer too, thanks to these give-a-away cases the government fought just so they could extract political mileage to beat the PUP. We can take nothing away from him, for he swatted them.
Returning to the consequential business, A. Shoman is to blame. That Shoman brother just can’t get over adoring George Price for allowing him to live out a communist’s dream in Belize.
If Belize is paying him for the great work he is doing at the ICJ education forums, we should demand a refund. He is paid beyond his worth. Not only did we allow him to live out his dream here (how many people on earth get that?), we made it possible for him to dine at Fidel’s table, and then live in the great man’s country.
Eamon’s “no show” defense
Mr. Courtenay had previously mentioned the lack of a Sarstoon protocol as a sticking point, so I was glad when I read the report on a chat he had with Marleni Cuellar and Kevin Arthurs (on Channel Five) and that wasn’t mentioned.
Mr. Courtenay, to explain why he did not join the 5 former Foreign Ministers who say YES, said: “One, there must be an update for a legal opinion. Two, there must be a legal opinion on the maritime issue. Three, we must know who our lawyers are and we must be satisfied that there is a team that is being paid and fully paid. Who are the support persons? What are they doing? Who they are? And that they are ready to go. More importantly, we need to amend the Referendum Act to make the results binding and that no government can say ‘I don’t accept the results.’ We need to amend the Maritime Areas Act to ensure that we claim the maximum that we are entitled under the law of the sea…I am saying we should amend the Representation of the People’s Act to allow Belizeans in the Diaspora to vote…”
I believe those are sufficient reasons for Mr. Courtenay to have reservations about April 10. Mr. Courtenay also said: “My belief is that we should agree with Guatemala for a minimum of twenty five years that there will be no attempt to resolve the territorial dispute…”
I will say that Mr. Courtenay slipped from the moorings here. How do we get Guatemala to agree to a 25-year halt to negotiations, and what would Guatemala do during these twenty-five years? We have a history-full of encroachment and poaching to guide us.
Belize needs help to protect the Chiquibul and the Columbia, the Port Honduras and the Sapodilla Cayes, and the ICJ ruling will give our allies full license to join with us in preserving them. A 25-year back off or a NO vote makes these areas more vulnerable to depredation.
The behavior of the Guatemalan government, and our government, at the Sarstoon, tells us everything we need to know. Guatemala insists that it must get piece of land. Belize insists that our land is off limits. The Guatemalans say their constitution says they must get land. Our constitution says they can’t get any.
Guatemala has been acting disrespectfully in the Sarstoon. Belize has been backing off. The joke of a forward operating base at the Sarstoon became cruel when the shoddily built bridge made out of the cheapest lumber gave way and a Belizean soldier lost an eye.
It’s pretty obvious that Belize and Guatemala have an agreement that Belize will do nothing with land in the far south. We remember how our government did not reprimand the Guatemalans when they bullied SATIIM. The agreement was that we were not even to call it a park! Such was the condition under which Guatemala agreed to past negotiations with Belize, and to go to court.
The problem for Guatemala is that the ICJ absolutely cannot give them our land.
No political gain for PUDP here
Some YES voters are worried about PUP leaders leaning toward declaring for a NO vote. But there’s nothing to fear there. PUP leaders aren’t leading a NO vote. The NO voters are dictating to PUP leaders.
PUPs who are for YES to the ICJ need have no fear that their party leaning NO will hurt the ICJ vote or will hurt their party in the next general election. They, the PUP, will not scatter when the YES comes in.
The UDP should not get head tek either. They will get points for carrying it through. The PUP would have done the same, had they been the ones holding the reins at this time. Don’t ever forget why they call them – PUDP!
If you think I’m off page, consider this fact: The PUP led us to independence in 1981, and the records say what happened to them in 1984.