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Friday, August 14, 2020
Home Features There are always other rivers to cross

There are always other rivers to cross

I don’t think anyone is so naïve they believe that our troubles with Guatemala will be over once the ICJ rules against them. There are always other rivers to cross. It’s the way of life. Challenges are built into this thing, and they won’t go away until we go away, which we don’t want to do, so we, and challenges, both stay.

Bah, sometimes you wish for the old challenge. Fish jump owt a frying pan, straight into belly. Okay, that’s six a one an half a dozen a di adda, so mek A try again. You wanted to get out of childhood so you could do the things adults do. Hmm, not a good one either, but we’ll agree my nose is on the right track.

We have bound ourselves to say YES to the ICJ. If we say NO, Guatemala will for daam sure encourage, maybe covertly, persons who want to come over and pillage our sea and uninhabited forest.

If we say no, we also remain prisoners of local leaders who think that our nation’s resources belong to them and their party. I submit “again” that we cannot/will not give the sense to these greedy bohgaz in our midst until we deal with the troublesome matter without.

Yes, the local rulers are pushing for the ICJ, and some of them feel they will have more complete dominion over our assets, to plunder even more for their coffers. But it won’t be so. What it’s going to be is the beginning of real independence for Belize, an independence that works for the people.

Change can’t come to Belize until we push Guatemala to the side, from off our backs. Really, have you ever wondered why 1981 didn’t result in any change for the masses? Have you ever wondered why we suffer governments long past their utility? Why haven’t we ordered our local leaders to call elections when they are just wasting time in government? It is all because of the enemy without and their very onerous claim to our territory.

Forty or so years after independence, we need food pantry to keep the people from rioting in the streets. There is extreme poverty in rural areas and the only reason we haven’t exploded is because out here we can find some food in the ground and some fruits in season.

How is it possible that we have governments that spend our money without any accountability? Change wants to come but it cannot until we get Guatemala to stop destabilizing us.

The International Community said¯YES

In 1981 the international community said yes, and Belize became an independent country with all the territory it held before independence. I didn’t want Belize to become an independent country that way, only with the blessing of the international community.

I didn’t want Belize to become an independent country only after the British had settled the problem Guatemala had with them either. I wanted Belize to become an independent country because we decided to be an independent country, dependent on no one.

Ah, 1981, I was very young then. When I grew older I grew to appreciate that we couldn’t do it without the support of nations around the world. No person is an island and no country exists without the support of other countries. Some are large and powerful, but their existence depends on their being able to manipulate the support of others. It’s geopolitics, and that’s a truth of the world.

In 2019 the international community says we should say YES to the ICJ. The same math that applied in 1981, a hundred and odd countries to 1, applies in 2019. Too many of us get tied up with what the US wants and what’s the game of the British. The fact is that there is negligible USA in the ICJ, and the British don’t ever like to look ugly in the world. They, the British, are at the head of the Commonwealth, and we never betrayed them in the world wars.

Guat behavior in the Sarstoon

Some Belizean leaders have offered that the reason why the Guatemalans signed the Special Agreement was because they are tired of being a pariah nation and this is the best way for them to clean up their image. The Guatemalan government signing the Special Agreement, and their pushing for a YES vote from the Guatemalan people, no one can argue that that hasn’t improved the image of Guatemala in the world: it has improved it immensely.

There aren’t many things more civilized in this world than settling your differences in court. Jesus the Christ advised that we should settle our problems before we go to court, but going to court is the next best thing. Our leaders and their leaders say we are at an impasse because they want land, and we don’t have any land that we want to give them. So, we’re heading to face the judge.

Guatemala doesn’t absolutely need a YES vote from Belize, because that country has already scored a massive diplomatic victory when it signed the Special Agreement. Time will tell how Belize will vote, and what happened after. Did the countries go to the ICJ? Did Belize back out, and if she did, how did Guatemala respond? Did Guatemala respect the right of the Belizean people to say NO and then return to more negotiations, even though they said that negotiations that didn’t include land were futile?

While the world waits for Belize to decide how it will vote, Guatemala has been acting anything but civilized in the Sarstoon River. This should have resulted in major loss of points on the international stage for them. Belize’s leaders, however, have not made the world know, in a loud voice, about their intolerable military aggression.

There might be reasons other than embarrassing Belize, why the Guatemalan military is flexing in the Sarstoon. I will not pursue this matter except to say that the incursions into the Chiquibul and the Columbia forest reserves come from small and big businessmen, while the aggression in the Sarstoon is directly Guatemalan military.

 What we know is, is that Guatemala doesn’t have much of a case at the ICJ. We have heard comments from the great Solicitor General, Gian Ghandi, who, before he departed to the next world told his bosses that our case might not be as impregnable as we think, that it was not impossible that we lose some territory. Learned people have cited parts of opinions by lawyers contracted to review the claim, where they have said that it was not impossible that we don’t come out with a clear victory.

You know that every lawyer will tell you about litigation risk, because that is their out, their excuse when they lose cases. There are certain facts about the earth. In our part of the world the sun rises every morning. Some cases are like that. If some cases are like that, why do they end up in court?

There are a number of reasons why a person will go to court with a case that is bound to lose. One is that some people have trouble with the truth. It is so that sometimes people have lived a lie so long they begin to believe it.  Another story has to do with attrition. A person will attrition you to buy time, to weaken you (if they have more money than you have), to expose you, to expose themselves, and lots of other scurvy reasons.

Handle them (lawyers) like how agile eaters handle fish heads. You read the substance of what they have to say and then you spit out the bones, the trash part about litigation risk.

Guatemalan aggression in the Sarstoon might not have anything to do with the ICJ, but we should treat it as if it does because that is how it affects us. We all know that militaries the world over don’t believe in courts. It follows that the Guatemalan military does not support the Guatemalans who pushed to go to the ICJ. The Guatemalan military, by this naked aggression in the Sarstoon, could be showing the civilized Guatemalans how they roll.

We must consider, however, that Guatemala has been slowly coming under civilian rule, gradually being democratized, ever since the military was forced into a truce after massacring their people. The civilians in Guatemala know that at the ICJ their Unfounded Claim doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell against Ironclad, so that they might be egging on their military in the Sarstoon, the intent being to expose to the ICJ judges that we are so terrified of them, we wouldn’t mind giving up the square centimeter.

Indeed, judges are human beings and they can be affected. Fortunately for Belize there are Belizeans, like Wil Maheia and the Belize Territorial Volunteers, and others, and so the world knows that Sarstoon Island is not for appeasement. If the Americans want to make it another Diego Garcia, they have to talk to us.

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