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Sospishan and the ICJ

Has anyone ever made you an offer that was too good to refuse, yet you refused it because, yes, it was too good to be true? If the government made the announcement that it would give $100 to every man, woman and child in every household in Belize, would we immediately think that the general election is right around the bend? Ouch, we must be the most sospishos people on the planet. Okay, on the second one, I have to give in. Yes, an election would be right around the corner.

Don’t let anyone shame you away from calling an iron safe with a double padlock, ironclad. Everything man-made in this world is fleeting. In Dee Brown’s book, “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”, the Indian elder said: Everything changes, only the earth remains. Yes, with enough time that iron safe can be opened. But it was as ironclad as it gets.

Don’t let anyone make you shy away from the court when you know that right and truth and the law are on your side. Yes, there are cases that have mixed shades in them, but there are cases that are so strong the judge looks at what is brought against it and says, please, get out of here with the fraudulence.

We are a people who have suffered some major defeats. Our African ancestors were brought over here in chains, and our Mayan ancestors were driven from their lands. In the recent, we see our young men murdering each other in the streets, and the genocide in Guatemala, the massacre of people who look just like us, is not so far in the past that we have forgotten. In fact, leaders of the Maya are still not safe in Guatemala. It’s pretty natural, our sospishos nature.

But every battle you fight must be taken on its own merit. The past is a lesson which we should use in all our future dealings, but it shouldn’t stop us from going forward. If the same person who messed you up, comes with an offer too good to refuse, of course you have to think twice. If someone completely unrelated to that person comes with a similar offer, you would do well to give it more consideration. And if someone who has done right by you before comes with an offer, you might do well to embrace it, after some consideration.

We’ve had our triumphs. Look, let’s cut straight to it, before the purists get bex and kos me about my being staccato. If anything “can happen” when you go to court, then the law isn’t based on “logic” and the judges are a bunch of crooks or crazies. Yes, there are bad laws. Well, we have seen the law that the ICJ is guided by and we understand how that rolls. They respect boundary treaties.

Those of us who are for YES did not base our decision on the constitutionality of the Special Agreement and the procedures taking us to the referendum. We stand on occupation since 1798, self-determination, the 1859 Treaty and the exchange of notes.

We can say NO to the ICJ. We might even be able to block the referendum. Yes, I know it’s hard to say yes. But I like the chances for our young people in the arms of the United Nations court. Years ago we put our faith in the United Nations and we came out with our independence, and with all our territory. If the UN had not sided with us, we wouldn’t be Belize, independent with all our land and cayes.

A chance to clean up

PM Barrow, in expressing his dismay on the postponement of the referendum, said that we were “poised and ready to go” (to the ICJ), but the real is that there were far too many wrong things going on for us to proceed on April 10.

I have said that it is my view that a sincere person should have no reservations about “marching into hell for a heavenly cause”, but that’s on a personal, individual choice. You shouldn’t do that in the name of anyone but your personal, private, individual self.

In my world, the PM and Sedi Elrington and all their government might believe that the right thing for us is to go to the ICJ, an I deh wid that, but they were wrong to go full speed ahead trampling on the rights of others. For the best of Belize, we have to do this right.

It could have been a NO vote, but if it was a YES vote the NO vote would have been angry, and rightly so. We absolutely shouldn’t allow Guatemala to divide us. The education campaign wasn’t balanced and things became more divisive when those “Yes to the ICJ” billboards started dominating the roadside.

 … We seem to not be sufficiently concerned about how our brothers and sisters in Stann Creek and Toledo think about settling the claim at the ICJ. I believe that we should have Belizeans in the south vote on this issue first, and we shouldn’t go until they agree. We can get a YES vote down south if we work on it because the United Nations’ court won’t let us down.

… The referendum “plus one” is ridiculous, but so is 60%. We are not the first country in this world to use this mechanism to hear the voice of the people on issues other than the choice of leaders. It is critical that a referendum not be undermined by strategic abstentions. If you put a threshold of 60%, abstention as a strategy comes in to play. You also don’t want an issue that has little interest to reach the stage of a referendum. People should have to care. My numbers say that 40% participation is a good threshold for a referendum.  And I believe we need 60% of those who vote, to say yes, before we go to the ICJ.

… Every Belizean at home who wants their voters’ card must be on the register before we vote in this referendum. It is not right to cry about Belizeans who are upset that they didn’t get to vote on April 10, when Belizeans are being denied the right to vote in this referendum because of a faulty re-registration process, and when there are Belizeans who have been denied the right to vote in the referendum because they don’t live in Belize at this time.

… It is terrible for us to make Belizeans abroad feel unloved, unwanted, unrespected. At the least, for every Belizean who lives abroad at this time, and has citizenship only in Belize, we should find a process to allow them to participate in this referendum if they desire to do so. Surely there are formulae out there for us to follow, and if there isn’t any we must have the creative juice to find a way. Should we insist on the two months requirement for dual citizens? We should discuss these things.

… The delay gives the proponents of the ICJ trip the chance to swallow their vomit and take down those billboards that feature the faces of our great heroes, George Price and Philip Goldson. This is just not right. In the movie, El Cid, the Cid was in the middle of a war with the Moors, when he fell in battle, so there was no shame in sticking him on a horse and sending him out to war one more time.

I am convinced that George Price would have been in support of the trip to the ICJ, and I believe all the Foreign Ministers believed he was in support of what they were doing, including Sedi Elrington, who must have felt he was walking in George Price’s shoes, must have felt George Price was holding his hand, when he signed the compromis in Washington.

I believe Philip Goldson would have been on board, but he would have jumped ship the minute Sedi Elrington started eroding our territorial integrity and encouraging fear to bring out a YES vote.

Another opportunity to dump S Elrington

This delay, it gives us another chance to dump Mr. Elrington as Foreign Minister. He might become vengeful and seriously try to become Prime Minister, and the only way we could head him off from that would be to declare him a bankrupt, but there isn’t much chance of that because we hear that he is rolling in money, or we could throw him in jail, but there is little chance of that happening because a man like that wouldn’t do much worse than a misdemeanor.

Hmm, I know some people want to put him away for treason, and he is definitely no Lord Nelson or Philip Goldson, but he has too many friends in the court. No one would prosecute him.

Our difficulty isn’t in finding a replacement. There are a number of viable candidates, including Lisa Shoman.

Pere would be up for the job, but that man’s DNA was not designed for a diplomatic post. He was stellar in harassing Julius, the kind of job he was born for, but in the end they wore down each other, Julius ending up being dragged unceremoniously from the House, and Pere being demoted to the lesser post of Attorney General.

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