With the upcoming National Referendum in 2019, people want to know more about the Belize-Guatemala territorial dispute and the country heading to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). With this in mind, the board of directors of San Pedro High invited the Ambassador of Belize to Guatemala, His Excellency Alexis Rosado to address the student body of San Pedro High School and San Pedro Junior College on Tuesday, May 22, 2018.
At the beginning of the presentation a video was shown to the audience entitled “Why the ICJ”. It explained, in brief, what the dispute and what the International Court of Justice is about. Chairman of the Board of Directors of SPHS, Mr. Andre Perez then briefly introduced H.E. Alexis Rosado after which Mr. Rosado took the podium to explain how is it we got to where we are in regard to the territorial dispute and explaining how the ICJ works.
H.E. Alexis Rosado’s presentation was very informative as he explained in a condensed manner the entire dispute and how Belize and Guatemala have been in negotiations, trying to work out this dispute for years but to no avail. He explained that Guatemala has been refusing to go to ICJ for years and has even backed out on a Referendum which was scheduled in 2012.
These were a few of the questions posed to Mr. Rosado:
So the question remained should we go to the ICJ? – Going to ICJ is the only way we have a chance on settling this dispute as Guatemala will be obliged to obey the judgment given.
What is the actual claim that Guatemala has over Belize? – Guatemala has changed their claim so many times yet have no evidence to support their claim. Their latest claim is from the Sarstoon to the Sibun River.
What do we have to lose? – The most Belize could lose is the delimitation of maritime areas.
What would be the cost of going to ICJ? – It could cost between 15 to 20 Mil US Dollars to go to ICJ.
Who would represent us at ICJ? - Only the best lawyers in International Law as there is no lawyer in Belize that practices International Law.
In the end Rosado reiterated that it is best to be fully informed so we can make the best decision as to whether or not we should Vote YES or NO to ICJ. Those present were given booklets and pamphlets on the Treaties/Conventions and agreements signed by Belize and Guatemala so as to better inform themselves on the situation.