PUP does not support holding unilateral referendum on October 6

Yesterday we gave you the People’s United Party’s (PUP) official stance on two proposals by Guatemala that would substantially alter or possibly scuttle the October 6 simultaneous referendum on mediating the territorial dispute at the International Court of Justice. An urgent press briefing was held at the party’s headquarters on Monday where Party Leader Francis Fonseca expanded on the party’s position, particularly as regards changing the referendum date.

Francis Fonseca – Leader of the Opposition:  
vlcsnap-2013-03-26-19h18m32s122The Peoples United Party does not support the holding of any unilateral referendum on October 6 2013, or on any other date.  We do not support the amendment of our national laws to reduce our threshold participation in referenda, simply to accommodate Guatemala.  The Peoples United Party therefore calls on the Government of Belize to remain resolute in maintaining national and international support for Belize’s inalienable right to self determination with full territorial integrity. Belize is for Belizeans. Long live Belize.

Fonseca later insisted that the party was committed to a “national position” on the issue and said he hoped that the Government would see their stance as being in the nation’s benefit. As for the party’s own internal consultations, Fonseca said they have been delayed by this latest turn of events, but not for long.

Francis Fonseca – Leader of the Opposition:  
It has delayed our initial time line which was to try and reach our own position,  which is a separate matter on the Yes or No vote. By the end of March, we’ve had to have some further discussions, as it relates to this changing position of Guatemala.  And so that will be delayed perhaps a week or two, but I don’t see it being delayed beyond that.

And Fonseca offered his own views on Guatemala’s sudden skittishness on the issue.

Francis Fonseca – Leader of the Opposition: 
It’s not my view that the Guatemalans want to go to the ICJ.  It’s not clear.  In fact, there proposals would suggest to me that they have no interest in going to the ICJ any longer. Their options seem to be making it more difficult, increasingly difficult, for that to be achieved.  My view at this point would be that the Guatemalans do not, in fact, in good faith, want to advance this matter to the ICJ.  I do not want to get into their internal politics.  But that would be my assessment of the situation in Guatemala, as it exists today.

The PUP’s position has been communicated to Belmopan ahead of Cabinet meetings on Tuesday.

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