Former Boundaries Commissioner, Mr. Lindsay Belisle, in an article published in the Amandala on Friday last, explained, among other things, that the 1859 Treaty does not cover us for 8,867 square miles of territory.
Before I go on, allow me this little story. When the Special Agreement (compromis) was signed in 2008, I opined (in my column) that we were pretty much bound to say YES. One of the most celebrated leaders of the citrus industry in our country, Mr. Denzil Jenkins, former Managing Director of Belize Food Products Ltd. (now amalgamated with the Citrus Company of Belize to form the Citrus Products of Belize Ltd.), told me that I wouldn’t have jumped out so fast with my YES if I had property in the south of the country. I believe Mr. Belisle has property in the south of the country.
We have been aware of a slight error in the border up north for some time now, for sure since 2002. Mr. Belisle, who has held a number of high positions in government, including Commissioner of Lands, mentioned in his article that it was his team (the Boundaries Commission) which brought this error to the fore. That is excellent work, and he and his team deserve respect for bringing this matter to the attention of our government. We wouldn’t want to be stealing the land of our neighbor(s).
There is no question that Mr. Belisle has a lot of knowledge in his field. There are many Belizeans who excel, are exceptional in their fields. They have earned our respect and admiration.
Mr. Belisle has written a few articles for the purpose of impressing on Belizeans that there are flaws in the 1859 Treaty, so it would be a mistake for us to agree to the Special Agreementto go to the ICJ with it. He has said that the court wouldn’t find it iron-clad ataal.
I don’t see where Mr. Belisle or any of his friends have produced any evidence to expose 1859. His latest article, The 1859 Treaty does not give title to Belize’s 8867 (Friday Amandala), while no one can find any technical faults therein, it clearly does not shake the foundation in 1859. It does, very importantly, correct an oversight, for which our leaders should graciously thank him. But the correction, in substance, doesn’t shake the 1859 Treaty one iota.
The 1859 Treaty said that the boundary would go from Gracias a Dios Falls to Garbutt’sFalls. That concerns Guatemala. The 1859 Treaty said that the line would continue due north from Garbutt’s Falls, until it reached the Mexican frontier. If you look at a copy of Fred Hunter’s entertaining and historical book, The History of the Sovereignty of Belize, you will see a map of Belize showing where the borderline meets the Mexican frontier at 17 degrees 49 minutes North Latitude. The land to the west of that belongs to Guatemala. Belize occupies no land that belongs to Guatemala.
If you study Belize’s history, you will know that there was a lot of instability in the area described as the Mexican frontier in the 1859 Treaty. Marcus Canul was a force all the way up to 1872.The British didn’t have to be the famous diplomats they are widely reputed to be, to know that it did not make any sense to be specific about the border with Mexico, when all the 1859 Treaty needed to be clear about was the boundary line between us and Guatemala.
Throughout their discussions (the NO camp) there is a constant distrust of the British. Interestingly, a big proponent of the YES vote harbors very bad thoughts about the British. Assad Shoman, in all his works, tried to paint them as the worst. Really, he was to come, explain, and get off the stage. Mr. Belisle is really about drumming in the band led by Bill “the British are devils!” Lindo, and Patrick “what is the Queen doing on our money?” Rogers. Some Belizeans just don’t trust those British bohgaz.
The British enslaved Africans (our ancestors), and they are the first cousins of the Spanish (who committed genocide against the Maya (our ancestors). I believe in being real, and one real is that good will triumph in the end. We, the children of the Africans and the Maya, live in a country where we make of it and ourselves what we want. We have occupation and self-determination in great part because of 1859.
Clinton Canul Luna mentioned Ignacio Mariscal, one of the authors of the Mariscal-Spenser Treaty of 1893, in his article last Tuesday. So, it is good we look at this treaty and see what we can learn from it. Some historians say Mexico readily accepted that treaty with Belize, in return for the British stopping the supply of arms to the Maya across the Hondo River. It must be noted that Belize (British Honduras) extended to the Hondo long years before that treaty. Surprise, surprise, not ALL Mexicans were in support of the Mariscal-Spenser treaty of 1893. Have you ever heard of a unanimous YES in a nation re a border treaty?
In Guatemala, there were people who did not agree with the 1859 Treaty between Great Britain and Guatemala. If you read the arguments of the Guatemalan leaders who signed that treaty, they did so for the purpose of peace and stability and protection from voracious Americans.
In 1859, Great Britain was the most powerful nation in the world, and would remain so for many decades to come. All serious historians will tell you that the reason why the Americans won their independence from Great Britain in 1776 was because the British had their hands in too many countries. It is my belief that they CHOSE to let go what is now called the USA, because the rulers of that country were mostly common stock.
The Mariscal-Spenser Treaty of 1893 was between two sovereign nations, and the Anglo-Guatemalan Treaty of 1859 was between two sovereign nations. A court would have to be absolutely rigged to sneeze at 1859. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is no such pocotiempo court.
With all that evidence in our sails, it’s still no easy decision. The people who say they are 100% NO, if this case were a board game,they would change their position to YES immediately. Will Guatemala, in 2019, really have the face to claim our land? Are they about claiming some rights they don’t deserve? It’s a tough decision for us, to have the ICJ decide on these things.
That Special Agreement is very difficult. But the NO really should stop reaching all over the place.
Very catastrophic Sedi
I heard Mr. Elrington associate the term “catastrophic” with a NO vote in Belize. I take this direct quote from Channel Five’s transcript of their January 25 newscast. Read: His [Assad Shoman] passion to my mind is identical to (my) mind and maybe it is even more passionate given the fact that he understands because of the Arab/Israel conflict how catastrophic a no vote can be.
Before I go on, I must say that Mr. Elrington must surround himself with sycophants. He must be a sage, and people must gather at his feet to hear his wisdom. There must be a law that anyone who challenges any of his ideas has to go home. Bah, this man looks sagacious with his flowing white beard, but when he speaks he is too often in water over his head.
Mr. Elrington, invincible leader of Pickstock, that word used there is associated with RED TWO, two red flags with dots at the Supreme Court. When those two red flags go up we know we and our loved ones and our most important belongings have to be secured.
Mr. Elrington, great leader of people, there can be only two outcomes on April 10. You are not worried about YES. You associate NO with”catastrophic.” Mr. Elrington, leader of people, the meteorologists tell us what to do when a Cat 4 or 5 is in the neighborhood and the two red flags with dots are up. Sir, you have to tell your people, us, what we have to do to prepare for NO. What kind of leader are you? Do you mean it’s every man for himself? Mr. Elrington, you asked to lead. Now do!
You know, Belize really has to get more serious, and in that vein I’m beginning to think that we are remiss if we don’t do an internet search to find out who Sedi Elrington’s friends are. I might be alone on that one, but surely you’ve heard the saying: I know you when I see who your friends are, or something like that.
There are multiple people like Sedi around. No, you don’t need to have the nose of a bloodhound to know that if he is thinking about becoming Prime Minister, take over kit and caboodle, that there are people of like mind egging him on. It would be absolutely catastrophic if a man with so many artificial ideas about the world were to take over. Guatemala could come and kidnap all of us. And PM Sedi would scold us.
It’s very serious business and we are just letting things slip by. Will you sleep well at night when you learn that PM Sedi has his historians writing that he led the march against the Webster’s Proposals while he was just a mere youth!? Wake up, Belize, there are more Sediz in this country, and if we don’t open our eyes we’ll wake up and find the same disturbing vybz down at the Sarstoon, up in the Hondo.