Last week the PUP condemned the Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington’s statement at the United Nations’ 70th General Assembly in New York City and was back in the media spot light again today in a press conference to reiterate their distaste towards not only his statement but more importantly, the UDP administration’s handling of the Belize/Guatemala dispute.


Former Senator and former Minister of Foreign Affairs herself, Lisa Shoman, began by saying that Guatemala, in a diplomatic note to Belize in August made statements that should not have been ignored and omitted by Foreign Minister Elrington in his address at the UN.


Screen_Shot_2015-10-05_at_8.16.16_PMLisa Showman – Former Minister Foreign Affairs


“On the 24th of August 2015, the ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala sent a diplomatic note to Belize in response to the Diplomatic note #551 of the 19th of August of the Government of Belize.  The government of Guatemala stated that it categorically rejects the diplomatic note of Belize and the affirmations made therein by the government of Belize in respect to what they call an incursion of Guatemalan arm forces into alleged Belizeans waters in respect to the Sarstoon River, Guatemala in its notes asserts that it does not recognize the existence of borders with Belize and that it considers that the Sarstoon River and the island situated at its mouth is Guatemalan territory and therefor any foreign national who visits without the permission of the Guatemalan authorities could be considered illegal and subject to Guatemalan laws, it goes on to reject the idea on the 16th of August made by a few unarmed Belizeans civilians and states that the group who went including myself and the Belizean media “Provoked and verbally abuse the Guatemalan authorities an attempted to illegally enter Guatemalan territory but were prevented from doing so by the professional actions of the marine defense who acted without the use of arms and accordance with national laws, the diplomatic note also goes on to reject any statement made by Belize that we are exercising sovereignty over the northern part of the Sarstoon River and states that the government of Guatemala “has allowed the navigation of said Belizean vessels escorted by a Guatemalan military vessel as a sign of cooperation with Belize, it goes on to say, however it is evident that the goodwill and spirit of cooperation of the government of Guatemala has been “distorted by the government of Belize interpreting the said cooperation as an act of none existent sovereignty.”


The PUP Party Leader Francis Fonseca admitted that while it is a time of intense political campaign, the Belize Guatemala issue is not one of color and should concern all Belizeans, especially since the UDP government has been facts and laws surrounding the matter. Consequently, the PUP has a few more demands for Dean Barrow.


Honorable Francis Fonseca – PUP Party Leader


“This is not politicking for us; this is an issue of vital concern for the Belizean people and absolute importance for the future of this country. On Friday October 2nd 2015, Foreign Minister Elrington spoke at the United Nation as the representative of our nation in his speech he said “that Belize has signed a protocol to the special agreement between Belize and Guatemala to submit Guatemala’s territorial and maritime claim to our country to the International Court  of Justice we expect that this will facilitate and speed up the process of finally and definitively put an end to the unfounded claims that has plaque us on our region for far too long. The People’s United Party rejects Mr. Elrington stating on the world stage as our representative that the protocol signed with Guatemala will facilitate and speed up the process of going to the ICJ, the people of Belize has an absolute and democratic right to be consulted and to reject such an option, at no point during his speech did Elrington ever say that there must first be a referenda in Belize and Guatemala in order to approve any such submission, the failure of Elrington to inform the United Nations that referenda are required in both countries before any case can be submitted to the International Court Of Justice was in our view a deliberate misrepresentation of the applicable facts and law yet again Mr. Elrington has misstated the legal position in respect to Guatemala, the People’s United Party therefore on behalf of the Belizean people demands and immediate and public clarification of the record by the Prime miniter.”


The PUP leader adds that as stated in the PUP resolution in July of this year, for Belize territorial integrity and security, the UDP cannot be allowed to remain in administration to continue managing the territorial dispute with Guatemala. Fonseca went on to say that the Belizean people must be included; they must be consulted before moving forward.

 

Honorable Francis Fonseca – PUP Party Leader


“The People’s United Party reiterates that will encourage Belizeans to vote NO if a referendum is held to ask Belizeans if they support the taking of the matter of the unfounded Guatemalan claim to Belize to the International Court of Justice, the PUP will continue to work and internationalize the position of Belize to the unfounded and unjust Guatemalan claim to Belize and to ensure to continue to safeguard all of the rights of Belize to all sovereign territory and to all insular and maritime areas and preserve them intact, in the first year that a People’s United Party government is in office after November 4th we will undertake massive and comprehensive public consultation with the Belizean nation and people leading to a vote for Belizeans to decide for themselves how we are to deal with this claim and we will formulate via those consultations, the various options for the people to decide, we will, we will on this issue ladies and gentlemen, take away the power of one man and give back that power to the people of Belize.”


Lisa Showman – Former Minister Foreign Affairs


“What we are saying is that we want as a government as the first year in office to hold massive public consultations to have options formulated because this issue of yes or no to the ICJ is not the only thing; another option for instance could be to put the entire issue of the ICJ in a deep freeze so to speak and try to better relations with Guatemala there is not point with us having any trajectory towards the ICJ with a partner that neither respects us nor stops its aggression against us so that is another option and there are other option that has been put out there.”

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