Some people worry that Guatemala has some ace hidden under its sleeves, which it will pull out at the ICJ and slam on the table, like a winning feech, and game, set and match, kaput, bye-bye Belize. There is no end to horror stories in this world. There are some people who say that earth is the devil’s territory. Then, we shouldn’t bother to fight. We should just yield to temptation…pass the batl, draw the kaak, and, like Omar Khayyam, drink… Drink! for you know not whence you came nor why: drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.
Really, from where will Guatemala get such an ace? If Guatemala had such an ace, would the UN have supported our independence? Did Guatemala just find this ace? If Guatemala has such an ace, not an ace like “Spain gave us to them”, a real ace, one like a referendum in Belize that says that we want to be Guatemalans, then we should just capitulate. We have to respect the will of our people.
Guatemala has no such ace. What Guatemala has is knowledge of Belize. We da open paki, so it isn’t difficult for Guatemala to know that we are wired to say NO. Have we ever said YES to anything that has to do with them?
When they presented the Webster Proposals, we said NO. When they presented the Heads of Agreement, we said NO. They didn’t ask us about the Maritime Areas Act, they rammed that through. When they presented Ramphal/Reichler, we were stirring up for a NO, when Guatemala pre-empted us, declared they were not for it.
It isn’t that there is bad in No, any that we have said. When we said NO to offshore drilling anywhere near the precious reef, we were standing for the world. But each case must be taken at its worth, and this ICJ is one of those.
Don’t bite on anything Guatemalans say that involves us
I don’t know anything about the honesty of Guatemalans, but I will say that we can’t bite on anything any of them says that concerns our territory. I am sure that there are Guatemalans who will make it to heaven. I am sure that there are Guatemalans who would prefer that their country drop the wild claim they make on our land.
The Belize YES leadership really should not repeat what some Guat ministers had/have to say. Of course some Guatemalan leaders want to be done with it. Of course some Guatemalan leaders who studied the case see they have no claim and have mouthed so. But that could never help sell a YES vote in Belize.
One of the journalists who went on the trip to Guatemala has found “solace” in what he was told over there, so much so that he repeats it at every opportunity. Journalists over there told him that if we say NO, we just go back to the negotiating table. I mean, just like that! Boy, the incredible things gullible people say!
What were they to tell us, Braa? What else could they tell us? Were they to say: Just a few years ago we slaughtered 200,000 of our own people…We da bad man soh unu betta watch unuself. Were they to say: We just went through an intensive, expensive exercise in which we showed the world how civilized we are. Now you can show the world how much you also respect the UN’s court.
Why should we believe anything they have to say? That’s not personal. They are Guatemalans. We are Belizeans. Their (Guat journalists’) business, agenda was to show us their best side. Please, no Guatemalan journalist or government minister will tell me what their response to a NO in Belize will be. Of course I will give an ear to any Guatemalan who has kind words for us about their country’s claim. But I will not repeat what they tell me. That is propaganda.
NO voters throwing the kitchen sink
We can say the NO voters in Belize noh discriminate. Anything dehn ku reach, dehn di hib. Guatemala doesn’t have any aces up its sleeve after decades of pushing their misguided claim. And NO voters in Belize have run out of arguments. Their latest find, the Joint Statement made by Belize and Guatemala in 1992, is such a reach.
This Joint Statement was made at a time when the President of Guatemala, Jorge Serrano Elias, was working with Belize on the Maritime Areas Act and other agreements. It is logical that he would have to have shown to the hawks in the Guatemalan Congress, that he wasn’t repudiating their claim.
In any negotiation, every negotiation, you must have some give. But our leaders didn’t sign any statement that wasn’t true. It is a fact that “Guatemala and Belize, as two sovereign independent states, have not yet signed a treaty between them finally establishing their land and maritime boundaries…” (quote from The Guatemalan Claim to Belize – A Compendium of Relevant Documents, by Ambassador James S. Murphy in 2006)
I will defer to the lawyers here. If there was any agreement by Belize to abandon her borders, how do we explain the “Proposals from the Facilitators” presented in 2002? Ten years after the Joint Statement, Sir Shridath Ramphal, who was our lawyer, and Mr. Paul Reichler, who was Guatemala’s lawyer, presented the Proposals to both countries. Ramphal/Reichler said it was as it was in 1859, territorial integrity from the Hondo to the Sarstoon, from Benque Viejo to Half Moon.
If there was any substance to the argument that the 1992 agreement abrogated, abandoned 1859, the 2002 Proposals would have reflected that. 1992 was simply about keeping the negotiations going. That’s what our negotiator and their negotiator said.
Some of these things the NO voters pick up are really supportive of the YES vote. The biggest one is that the US doesn’t support, respect the UN.
Ai, when the big military powers formed the UN, they didn’t expect that they would actually be subject to rulings in cases with us, as if we were equals. It is really a mixed up NO lawyer who will exhibit an argument about US failure to respect the ICJ when it told them that they owed recompense to Nicaragua for mining that country’s ports, and some other atrocious things. When the US saw the way the wind was blowing in that case, it withdrew.
So, the US disregarded the ICJ. How that is supposed to mean that Guatemala will/can do the same could cause someone to pull a muscle. There are limits to our reach.
There is an argument that the US is very influential at the ICJ and, we all know, the US loves Guat more than she loves us. Really, that Nicaragua ruling shows that the US doesn’t influence the ICJ’s decisions.
Yes, many people say they don’t trust the ICJ because the US could influence it. They say we should go for an advisory opinion.
I recall that former ambassador, David Gibson, suggested that an advisory opinion from the ICJ was a good first option IF we voted NO on April 10. Others say they suggested we seek the advisory opinion before Ambassador Gibson did. Others have suggested the advisory opinion after Ambassador Gibson mentioned it.
Following the advisory opinion suggestion, if the USA can/would influence the ICJ to hurt us, couldn’t it also influence an advisory opinion?
If the US had such reach, and it was so inclined, it could tell the judges/lawyers working on the “advisory opinion” to just include one word: shek-reh. Now what would an advisory opinion that said our 1859 treaty is shek-reh do for us? I don’t’ think it would be anything nice.