One argument that our technocrats at the ambassadorial level offered for Guatemala wanting to go to the ICJ to settle their claim against us was that Guatemala wanted to put their ugly genocidal past further in the past. They said that Guatemala wanted to step out on the world stage as a leader in their sphere. Our top diplomats noted that Guatemala had tried to get support in the international arena from countries in the Caribbean, and they always failed because of their claim that Belize’s land was theirs.
Some Guatemalan diplomats did forward that their leaders couldn’t go to their people after all these decades and decades of claiming Belize and tell them it was a mistake, so they needed a recognized body like the ICJ to help them put away their claim.
Guatemala indeed wants to look good on the global stage. In the past Guatemala was the seat of the Captaincy General. The Captaincy General of Spain in the Americas was administered from Guatemala City, and when the states that were members — Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Chiapas — became the Federal Republic of Guatemala, Guatemala City again was the capital.
The Central American Republic dissolved in the 1830’s, and it is Guatemala that seems the most persistent to revive it. This dream of one Central America with Guatemala at its head is still alive among some leaders in that country. One Guatemalan diplomat has made the unfair statement that they have failed at putting the Central American republic back together again because strategic Belize was in the control of the British.
By May 8th of this year, Guatemala should present its claim along with its arguments for said claim to the ICJ. Some people believe that Guatemala really believes it can win at the ICJ. It’s hard to believe that intelligent people can believe things that don’t make any sense, but it happens. It’s like a blind spot in a car. Guatemala has never controlled Belize, so by occupation alone the country is ours. That doesn’t satisfy them, and neither does the 1859 Treaty gi dehn di sense.
It is possible that Guatemala saw themselves being stalled by seemingly endless negotiations, and so they made the bold decision to go to court. They became frustrated with negotiations because they always end up demanding land, and we know we don’t have any of that that belongs to them.
We know the Israelis are big in Guatemala, and so we have to expect that they were in on advising them to go to the ICJ. We don’t know if the Israelis expected us to say yay, or no.
It is hard to believe that any disinterested country in the world believed that we would say “yes.” What country in the world asks a court to determine its existence? The British had told the Guatemalans to meet them in court, but it wasn’t land in England that the judges would have deliberated over.
Hmm, the Friends of Belize knew that our leaders had backed the country into a corner. They must have known too that Belize’s leaders would still have to railroad the people into a “yes” decision. Our leaders didn’t let them down. They introduced undemocratic tactics and spent millions to solidify the “Go to the ICJ” vote, and at a critical juncture all of Belize’s foreign ministers since independence came forward and put their stamp on the ticket for the plane trip to The Hague.
The ball is completely in the Guatemalan court now, and they must have a little difficulty with an obvious contradiction. How do you say you are a modern, responsible citizen of the world if you claim land from your neighbor when the world has said to you, emphatically, over and over again, to leave that neighbor, Belize, alone? It’s not just bullying talk now: you’re going to the world court with it.
Over the years Guatemala has sought a number of concessions from us, based on their claim of land. Belize has bent over, trying to accommodate them, one reason being that when neighbors have difficulties they go to the table and negotiate.
In 1991, when George Price was our leader and Jorge Serrano Elias was president of Guatemala, they produced the Maritime Areas Act, which was included with a number of points for further negotiation.
Personally, I would prefer that Guatemala persists with its old ways, which is that they don’t want anything if it doesn’t include land, because they cannot get any. The ICJ, the UN’s court, can’t countenance that.
There are people who say that the court must help Guatemala save face. The thought process there is that the ICJ will want to appease. The ICJ track record shows, however, it doesn’t work that way.
Some parties here believed that the claim was going away: they say that all Belize had to do was wait until more progressive young people in Guatemala took control of that country. These parties argued that Guatemala’s only chance to get anything from Belize was for us to show our willingness to go to court because this would show the court that we were compliant.
That argument has substance, but our soft approach doesn’t give the court license to rule contrary to the facts of the case. In the end, Belize’s leaders made us bow very low to get this claim off our back. 45% of Belizeans said “no” to that. Of the 55% who voted “yes,” a considerable amount felt our hands had been tied.
Now we wait. The ball is now in Guatemala’s hands.
The young Chester Williams must have vomited his liquor
I heard it, but I don’t believe my ears. It’s not believable that the Commissioner said banning of liquor would be the ideal thing. Anybody who would ban alcohol would have put Jesus in jail. What could prompt someone to mouth something so sacrilegious? He sounds like a person who fooled with liquor when he was a child, and he got drunk and his constitution couldn’t take it and so he spewed his gut contents all over the place.
Of course liquor causes people to do stupid things, sometimes, but as in all things we have to consider all the associated factors. There has to be a heck of a lot of excitement in a bottle, or people wouldn’t look forward to draa di kaak with such great anticipation. What percentage of people drink without causing any trouble? What percentage of people would die of boredom or go crazy if they couldn’t get a little spirit in their veins?
The Commissioner noted that men under the influence of liquor commit many violent crimes. He should check the number of violent crimes that are committed by men who are denied their liquor. The Americans tried banning already, and it was a total disaster. They made a lot of crooks and they caused a lot of people to get killed.
One would have thought that the Police Department has more work than it can handle; banning rum would be jumping out a frying pan and landing een a fire.
Is this Chester Williams married? If he isn’t, then ten to one he has his eye set on a church girl and he is out to impress. The girl would have to be from the Evangelical branch, because the Catholics are more into live and let live. The Catholics don’t encourage drunkenness: they accept moderation.
Of course, of course the Commissioner was just into the hyperbole, but such talk makes people nervous, a state which calls for a bottle with a kaak.