Members of Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) and others opposed to the ICJ process gathered outside of the Radisson Hotel starting just before today’s press briefing hosted by the OAS and featuring Belize’s and Guatemala’s Ministers of Foreign Affairs . While police held the protestors outside at bay, they loudly proclaimed their message to both countries’ diplomats and those of the OAS: There is no peace if Guatemala wants a “piece” – a piece, that is, of Belizean territory. COLA president Geovanni Brackett took off his journalist hat and put on his activist one outside the Radisson, saying that what he had heard inside convinced him even more that the Foreign Minister was underestimating the Belizean people and his opponents specifically. Activist Moses Sulph also weighed in, saying Belize was not doing enough to promote its independent status. Earlier we spoke to Patrick Rogers of Vision Inspired by the People (VIP), who repeated his party’s sentiments.
“P-E-A-C-E will lead to P-I-E-C-E and that P-I-E-C-E is Toledo because they di holla for a dolla but they are willing for a shilling. They want Toledo district which is our richest district but they ask from some of Belize, some of Cayo, all of Dangriga and all of Toledo and they know that the ICJ will give them peace. We already started the appeasement road. An appeasement means that you are willing to give up something. This peace process has nowhere to go because in the Maritimes areas act, we gave up twelve miles to three of sea to hope that they let go the claim. They still haven’t let it go. So, they see that we are willing to give up something. They are saying “we want more than just nine miles of sea territory that you gave up to us. We want land.”
And Murphy McLaren said the issue is serious enough to die for.
“I am ready to die for this. No ICJ…absolutely no ICJ. Why will we go and negotiate for something that already belongs to us? We shouldn’t even reach a referendum because the referendum as a waste of our money and is trying to sell up our people. No ICJ means no ICJ, case close.”
Aaron Humes – Plus TV Reporter
“So you don’t believe in the peace process that they are discussing inside?”
“The peace process… how could you talk peace when you want a piece of my land? That is a bunch of bull. What it is, we have a government facility with the Guatemalan people and the Guatemalan government and undermining the Belizean people. Our government has always been betraying us any way Lone traitors in the system – real traitors. You know what happens to traitors? At the end of the day, we lose any land, any piece of land. Things will burn, people will die, we will kill up one another because we won’t agree with what is happening.”
Inside, Foreign Minister Elrington was dismissive of the opposition, suggesting that the protestors just did not know enough to make a proper determination.