Though my position of a No vote has been no secret; I have been a little more reserved on the ICJ topic than most people are comfortable with. This is certainly not because I don’t have anything to say on the matter, but I simply wanted to make certain of a complete understanding of not just our side of the story …I wanted Guatemala’s side too. It is important to know where the basis of there claim is coming from. You do not need to be an attorney to know that all courts listen to both sides of the story and Belize has been given only the half of one side of this story.
As my team and I study the trail of the exchange of notes on the Anglo Guatemala dispute over the territory of Belize, in the form of the online historical papers named Foreign Relations of the United States Diplomatic Papers, 1939, The American Republics, Volume V, https://histoy.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1939v05/d265.
We begin to realize that the so called IRON CLAD CASE , that WATERTIGHT case of going to the ICJ is not so watertight after all, and definitely not cladded in anything but rebuttals in the ensuing exchanges of notes. These exchanges of notes are not inclusive of the 1783 and 1786 Spanish Anglo pacts, but post the Clayton-Bulwer agreement leading up to the 1859 Treaty and thereafter the non-ratification of the supplementary 1863 Treaty
Most of Belize’s population do not even know that these treaties, agreements and Pacts existed any at all. The Previous Government and the Present Government both know of these and they know that it weakens any case that Belize can present. The million Dollar Question (or the 8 million plus in this case) is why Lie to the Belizean Public ? What other hidden agendas can these People have? What is the persistence in going to the ICJ? These are the same People and their relatives “fighting” this claim since self-government and have failed…or have they given in???
Is the 1859 treaty as valid as they claim it to be?
First, it is important to understand that a treaty can be annulled by either of the parties, if the counter party does not comply with, or violates any of the provisions of the said contract. Where the government and its minions have heralded the fact of “ Secure Title” to Belize, by virtue of the 1859 treaty; we must be sober and cognizant of the fact that article vII of the very contract/treaty that gave us “TITLE” to Belize, was not upheld by Great Britain, bringing into question the very validity of the basis of our Government’s “Iron Clad Case”
Guatemala repudiates emphatically the then British claims to the Belizean territory, invoking the Anglo-Spanish Pacts of 1783 and 1786 as the only valid territorial usufructuary agreement granted to them. They also strongly reject a so-called supposition of Mexico that by virtue of the Anglo-Mexican Pact of 1826, Mexico appeared to have had any title to sovereignty over Belize.
Guatemala asks the question, what was the status of Belize or British Honduras when the Anglo-Guatemalan Treaty of 1849 was signed? Aside from the usufructuary concession of 1783 and 1786? Her answer… none.
It is well documented that the Republic of Guatemala has always maintained a “unfounded claim” to sovereign rights over Belize, but what is not clear is how they maintain that “ the Convention of 1859 was an obligatory consequence of the agreement of the Governments of Washington and London, to settle amicably the difficulties existing between them, which without even the cognizance of the Republic of Guatemala those Governments adjusted at the expense of the latter in the Convention of 1856, known as the Dallas-Clarendon; The Convention of April 30, 1859, undoubtedly, constitutes a territorial cession by Guatemala in favour of Great Britain; Article VII of that Convention is an eminently compensatory clause, and compliance with it obligatory on the part of Great Britain, unless the entire pact is invalidated, that is to say, the English occupation return to the simple category of usurpation of Guatemalan territory.”
Even though it has not been declared during this time of the referendum; it has been documented that Guatemala demands that matters return to the situation in which they were, prior to the Convention of 1859, and consequently they argue that the territory of Belize must return to the sovereignty of Guatemala.
Guatemala, on making the juridical study of the situation created by England, mentions that they have been pleasantly surprised by the “virtual unanimity of the doctrine sustained by internationalists of all times and of all nations which render homage to the principles of international right thereby affirming that the Convention of 1859 has ceased to exist”.
I end with one of the final paragraphs of Guatemala’s Memorandum on the contents of their White Book as it appears in the cited historical papers above “As in 1835, in December of 1872, the Plenipotentiary of Guatemala stated to the Government of the United States that England had caused the caducity of the boundary Convention of 1859, and that Guatemala, in the material impossibility of securing immediate justice, reserved her rights for an opportune occasion; the Minister of Guatemala made similar declarations before the Government of London in 1884”
That opportune occasion is to their great pleasure becoming a real possibility at the ICJ if Belizeans Vote Yes.