Guatemala suspends simultaneous referendum

vlcsnap-2013-04-22-21h32m26s29Fernando Carrera, Foreign Minister for Guatemala, says that his Government has decided to suspend the simultaneous referendum that was scheduled for October 6 between Belize and Guatemala. Luis Fernando Carrera Castro told the Guatemalan media today that a letter has been sent to the Legislature explaining the decision. He emphasized though, that the dialogue will continue with Belizean authorities and representatives of the Organization of American States.  Carrera explained that the conditions for the October 6th referendum are currently not the best at this point in time, and that, there are three obstacles which exist with the process. The first obstacle as Guatemala sees it is that the proper educational process of explaining what it means by going to the International Court of Justice does not exist and that this will hinder a positive outcome of the consultation in trying to bring resolve to the dispute with Belize.  The second point is, again, Belize’s law as it pertains to the requirement of a 60 percent majority vote to ensure that the referendum would be legitimate and acceptable for it to go to the ICJ.  The last difficulty listed is that the consultation would cost the Guatemalan Government  270 million quetzal, which in their view,  would cause major fiscal problems. The minister ended by saying said that Guatemala has two alternatives to the current situation: one is to ask Belize to first carry out the consultation, after which Guatemala will do the same six months later, at the latest in June. The other solution the Minister says is that Belize removes the required 60 voter population involvement, which will create for equal voting condition and  facilitate a more positive response.

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