Today students of Orange Walk Technical High School made an impressive presentation on the Belize/Guatemala territorial dispute through a debate. During the discussion, the pros and cons of going to the International Court of Justice, to once and for all settle the unfounded claim, were presented.
Jahina Dominguez, Against ICJ
“History has proven when the treaty was signed Belize was a part of Spain’s domain, a Spanish speaking country and motherland to Guatemala. When Guatemala gained his Independence it rightfully inherited was for Spain in the bases and Great Britain stole what rightfully belong to Guatemala in other words they took it by force.”
Gustavo Rodriguez, Against ICJ
“My esteemed opponent this is clearly stating that the British as the Creole would say them con yah and they neva own this territory, so they don’t have any right to call it their own.”
Maritza Mejia, For ICJ
“Another point of interest is the Webster’s proposal of April 26th of 1968, Guatemala ask the UN to appoint the mediator in the territorial dispute between Belize and Guatemala because Guatemala was sure that the US would be in favour of them. This proposal granted limited Independence to Belize and gave Guatemala total control on Belize defence and external affairs, this was exactly what Guatemala wanted, what Guatemala was hoping for, but everybody surprise when Guatemala refuse the proposal. Tell me honourable an opponent wasn’t this you were looking for, so why did you refused.”
Esmeralda Mejia, For ICJ
“According to the special agreement which was signed by the foreign minister of Belize and Guatemala on the 8th of December of 2008 following a long period of unsuccessful negotiation seeking a solution to Guatemala unsounding claim to Belizean territory, these agreement set out the issue to be examined by the International Court of Justice and the question to be put to the people, both countries, National referenda; what are the issue should be judge by the ICJ. United nation is aware of the territorial dispute and of the boundary treaty. The United Nation general assembly of the 1980 reaffirm the right of the people to believe self-determination, dependence and territorial integrity, it was not until 1991 ten years after Belize attained Independence that Guatemala officially recognize Belize ‘s Independence. Guatemala frequent incursions into Belize for the purpose of plundering and even settling in Belizean territory clearly shows that Guatemala has no respect for Belizeans border which was agreed by both countries treaty of 1859, 1931. Guatemala has disrespected the Belizean border many times when they cross into our country and they do illegal; logwood cutting, rosewood cutting, and xate cutting. Deforestation in the chiquibul forest torching our exotic birds and animal and even claiming land as if it is theirs, my worthy imponent, isn’t this a blatant disrespect to our borders that have agreed between Great Britain and Guatemala for us this is a clear indication that Belize should go to the ICJ settle once and for all the territorial dispute that has gone on for a hundred and fifty years.”
Head of the Social Studies Department, Juan Leiva, says the debate proved to be a healthy way of finding out how the students felt about the issue.
Juan Francisco Leiva, Head, Social Studies Department
“The debate actually started as a result of the ministry of foreign affairs asking all high schools to incorporate in their curriculum the question about ICJ and Belize and I do believe that it is a very wise decision because we need to educate our students in this aspect and by debating that is the only way students tend to be involved in the actual decision making because we don’t know if we are the ones who are going to do it or they are the ones who are going to do it because Guatemala has always been saying look we are not ready, we are not ready, so will we be the ones who will go to the ICJ or will the students be the one going to the ICJ.”
Third and fourth form students presented during the debate.
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