BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Dec. 6, 2018– The ICJ Lecture Series sponsored by the University of Belize and the Social Sector Senators held a session Tuesday night at the Sacred Heart College Auditorium, in San Ignacio, where two of the presenters, the historian and former ambassador, Dr. Assad Shoman, a proponent of the government’s “Yes to the ICJ”, and politician/businessman, Paul Morgan, a proponent of “No to the ICJ” clashed publicly.
Foreign Affairs Chief Executive Officer, Alexis Rosado, presented on “The facts of the claim”, Dr. Shoman’s presentation focused on Belize’s case for going to the ICJ, and Belize Peace
ovement representative, Paul Morgan, presented on the “No to ICJ” position.
Last night, Channel 7 News aired a video of the presentation courtesy of HITZ 100 – “OYE” FM out of Cayo, in which Dr. Shoman made some insulting remarks.
Dr. Shoman remarked, “A small band of fact distorters jam the radio waves, crowd Facebook pages preaching doom and gloom and making stuff up. What stuff? Well, that the Special Agreement rubbishes the 1859 Treaty. But nothing in the wording of the Special Agreement does that. Belize has no idea about what Guatemala’s case would look like if we decided to go to the ICJ and that therefore this puts us at a disadvantage when we go to court. The truth is it doesn’t matter that we don’t know exactly what they would claim. It’s better for us if they claim the whole country, because it exposes the absurdity of the situation. It’s better for us in a psychological way, not in the legal way. Whatever they claim legally, they are going to lose. But think of it. If they claim the whole country, and already they have recognized this country. So the court will – what have you recognized? They won’t have a territory? Can you have a country without a territory? They will just expose their absurdity. The more they claim, the more stupid they look.”
“I say, enough of lies and enough of false truths. It’s time to call out the mis-informers in our society. It’s time to recognize that many people say and do these things because they have a political agenda. Many of the loudest naysayers are people who are or have been candidates of a political party and want to boost their political capital, especially as general elections zoom ahead.”
“For example, the argument that we have much bigger problems than the Guatemalan claim to worry about—rampant corruption. Remember, we talked about that. And I can add out of control crime, massive poverty, gross inequality etc. etc. And they say the way to fix all of that is to vote NO. So we bring down the government and then we elect a corruption free government. Magic. Easy. Just like that. Really? Wow. What party is that? At the moment we only have two real choices, let face it. And both have proven term after term after term, to be efficient and creative corruption machines. Yes or no?”
“Do you believe that a new party will suddenly spring up and win elections from two parties that spend millions of dollars to bribe people for their votes? The only way to achieve a fair and just society is to change our system of government. Change our economic policies. Adopt socialist policies that favor the poor and marginalized. Be effectively anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist. In other words, make a revolution. When you are ready to do that, let me know. In the meantime you need to get rid of this claim that is destroying the environment, robbing our resources, threatening our people, mortgaging the future of our children.”
In discussing the Heads of Agreement that he signed in 1981, Dr. Shoman said, “Can you sign a paper that says that you will discuss these various topics in future and try to reach agreement? I will call that Heads of Agreement. We said fine. Everything that was in that Heads of Agreement was subject to Belize agreeing to it in the negotiations. We felt very confident about that, because if we have the power to negotiate and to say no every time they suggest something, then we have no problem. For example, the thing that was most frightening to Belizeans was the rights over the Sapodilla and Ranguana Cayes, and to the waters in that, as may be agreed. Now, when we signed that we knew we would not agree to anything.”
Paul Morgan rejoined, “But you just heard from the horse’s mouth how on an international basis he and his colleagues did not intend to honor something that they signed. That, my friend, is a lie. It’s a lie. That is a bad thing…and I’m saying this very seriously now, perhaps, just from that one statement there recorded, we should not send Assad back to negotiate anything for us, because he is a liar.”
The Lecture Tour’s next stop will be in Independence Village.