Accusing the Government of Belize of pushing “an ICJ agenda” at such events as the 46th OAS General Assembly through the draft resolution of support, Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) wants to know whether the groundwork has been laid for the needed referenda to secure a trip to the Hague.Today, President of COLA Geovannie Brackett issued a warning to Belizeans that it is not cut and dried:
Geovannie Brackett, President of C.O.L.A: We have been saying at C.O.L.A from a long time ago that the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Government definitely by extension have given the impression that this or that we have already made up our minds that we are going to go to the ICJ and the talks have been more about the ICJ than the referendum process. The way we have been made to understand from 2008 is that the signing of the compronae is that there has to be a joint referendum between the two countries. Yes, that was changed again we appease the Guatemalans we’ve changed that so we can do it on separate dates, however there is no longer a talk about the referendum it’s just strictly about going to the ICJ and we find it very disingenuous to the international community and it’s not representative to where we are as a country and I think it’s very rude and disrespectful to the people of Belize to ignore the process and I think it’s brainwashing that the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Government and the Prime Minister they are hoping that speaking this way would actually give them a yes at going to the International Court of Justice and C.O.L.A want to alert the people of Belize that we have not gone through a referendum and there are still ways to go, there is still a referendum process and that should not be ignored.
COLA’s release states that, quote, it is disrespectful for the government to pretend that the opposition to the ICJ is inconsequential. End quote.COLA argues that there has not been enough education about the process, and reiterates its disapproval for any amendment of the Referendum Act to allow a simple majority participating, rather than 60 percent, to pass the vote, especially not to please Guatemala.Commenting further on the issue of activity in the Sarstoon, Brackett assailed Government for not asserting itself at the southern boundary.
Geovannie Brackett, President of C.O.L.A: The Sartoon is still a big issue for C.O.L.A. We’ve built a base but the Guatemalans have gone ahead to assert their power over the entire Sarstoon and even though we have built those base we have failed to assert power over our side of the Sarstoon. Now, when I have talked to my friends in the CARICOM and other people abroad some people find that ridiculous. How could you have a base and not assert yourself? I mean you do not have to have a million-man army to actually assert yourself there are ways that you can diplomatically on the front deal with that and the army has a role to play so if the Guatemalans come into our waters we need to hold up our cameras and our soldiers need to have cameras as well, because you see that they have their cell phones and we need to assert our self and arrest their people who are illegally fishing in our waters and send them back just as how they are doing to us but if we fail to assert our self it’s just like a squatters who is on a land for like 10-15 days that if you fail to remove them they will eventually have that land.
Brackett reiterated that Belize’s and Guatemala’s people must have the final say and that there is sufficient argument against a Yes vote.COLA says it, quote,“.. will continue to agitate, and escalate the agitation on behalf of Belizeans until the government begins to tell the truth. The Belizean people demand the truth”. End quote.