This morning Vision Inspired by the People (VIP) hosted the press in Belize City to discuss various national issues. Chief among them are the recently announced plans by the Government of Belize to amend the Special Agreement to allow Guatemala first crack at a referendum on going to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) later this year. While the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) have gone on record as conditionally supporting the change to the Agreement, smaller parties VIP and the People’s National Party (PNP), according to Paco Smith, maintain their staunch opposition against any negotiated settlement that involves going to the ICJ.
“The VIP/PNP position is that Belize must not go to the ICJ for the implication of the incumbent Guatemala claim. The VIP and PNP are distinct in our position from that of the opposition PUP who still supports going to the ICJ yet that it must not represent the MFA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at such time. To put it clearly so that there is no question where the VIP and the PNP stand, we say No to the IC, point blank. Irrespective of who holds the point of Foreign Minister. “
According to Patrick Rogers, the Agreement needs to be ratified under Section 7 by the Senate, which has not been done, and knowing what is in it, the push for the ICJ might end there. But if it does not, the VIP is taking no chances: it will ask Belizeans to vote no. Rogers told PLUS News something that may surprise our viewers – the long-standing dispute has in fact been resolved since 1981, and fear of a Guatemala invasion masks the real issue – foreign domination of Belize and smoke screening.
Patrick Rogers– Member, Vision Inspired by the People“In 1981 we were given our Independence with our territorial integrity. As I’ve said to you, none of these other agreements that were brought to us before had put the land at risk. They all understood that the United Nations, the Mother of the OAS, the mother of the ICJ has already given us our territorial integrity in tact in 1981 when we got our Independence. Why would we go to this now and take it to one of the daughters, the OAS to stare us to another one of its daughters, the ICJ when this matter was already settled in 1981. Guatemala was a part of the United Nations and signed on to the Convention to peaceful resolutions and disputes and so is Belize. That is how this thing will be settled, peacefully. It won’t come to a military war. It won’t, trust me on that. Guatemala is not a super power, it is not like Italy, France or Spain or one of those countries that can bomb up a little country and the UN sanctions won’t affect them. UN sanctions will definitely affect Guatemala and keep them in check,. I have no fear of Guatemala. I think people only do you what you let them do you. The country needs to understand that. England and America that’s acting like they are our friends when in effect there companies have us poor where we cant tax right in this country.”
According to Paul Morgan, the United Kingdom, Belize’s former colonial occupier, shares responsibility for ending the dispute, and he separates that from the issues on the ground with Guatemala.
“Where is the problem? Is there a dispute? I want to say this today, there are really three actors in this dispute. The guy who committed the crime, that is England, the guy who was wronged, and the guy who just wants to live. You have to remember that England actually has a deal with Guatemala. It was not Belize, Belize was born in 1981. At this point, England can’t come back and say that it was over your land and we will take your land and take it over there. You had an economic deal with these guys, deal with it economically. Between Belize and Guatemala, we have a moral issues. Between England and Guatemala, they have an economic issue. Let us not lose sight of that. There are three parties and it is not only two.Our land and territory does not come into the equation at all. It shouldn’t.”