• Paco Smith | Chairman | BPP

Existential Threat to Belize's Territorial Integrity


With today being the official Public & Bank Holiday commemorating the annual "Benefactor/Baron Bliss Day", I cannot help but think of its significance, amid the real, existential threat to our territorial integrity that exists.

On this day we pay homage to those who came before us and both sacrificed and contributed to the development of our beloved homeland Belize. These were self-less Belizeans and true friends of Belize, who knew the importance of not only crafting our Belizean identity, but also ensuring that our territorial integrity was maintained. Several names come to mind including: Baron Bliss, Simon Lamb, Samuel Haynes and the Hon. Philip S.W. Goldson, to name a few.

Fast forward to the present, where we have a monolithic political cartel, the PUDP, which amounts to no more than a group of political panderers who, under the guise of "leading" our nation, have demonstrated their lack of concern for maintaining the nation-state in-line with our Constitution, which defines our sovereign territory as consisting of 8,867 square miles of God-given splendour. Both the UDP and the PUP are culpable by way of their misguided, unprincipled and detrimental "4A Policy" of: APPEASEMENT, ACQUIESCENCE, ACCOMMODATION and ADHERENCE to our bullish neighbour to the west, Guatemala.

Within the confines of those who currently sit in the House of Representatives, because you the Belizean electorate placed them there, I see not one individual whose priorities are right...that is to speak out, as an individual who loves this nation and shall reject their party-line of going along with this OAS-facilitated charade of wanting to go to the ICJ, to adjudicate that which has officially been ours since 1859 and was buttressed first in 1975, then again in 1980 by the United Nations; which ultimately paved the road to independence in 1981..."with its (Belize's) territory in-tact..." The territory to which our Constitution refers is the full 8,867 square miles!

The belligerent and bellicose actions of the Guatemalans toward Belize has increased steadily since the ill-conceived bi-partisan effort which resulted in the signing of the once, much vaunted "Compromis". Since then, Belize's territorial integrity has eroded considerably, so much so that among a myriad of things, as of a week ago, the Guatemalan Armed Forces (GAF) are now emboldened to enter our territory and prevent the free movement of Belizeans, whilst in Belize. Of an equally disturbing nature is the frivolous manner

in which the Government of Belize has addressed this grave usurping of our territorial and by

international standards, is an act of aggression by Guatemala!

To that, the arrogant and out-of-touch Foreign Minister of Belize, with the support of the Prime Minster and Cabinet continues to play the fool and seek to downplay this blatant act of disrespect to our sovereignity. To this, I proclaim that Belizeans from all walks of life must hold the entire political structure, including all elected officials on the national level on both sides of the PUDP non-divide, accountable. Indeed, heavy is the head that currently wears the crown, but let us not demonstrate a case of selective amnesia, for it is due to the willful negligence of all elected officials in the House of Representative, irrespective of their hue, that has Belize in this quagmire., Subsequently they continue to solely is encourage Belizeans to place our nation's territorial integrity and by extension, our sovereignty at the mercy of the supposedly learned justices at the ICJ.

As the Belize Progressive Party - BPP and its principles have stated from the onset, going the route of the ICJ is NOT in the best interest of Belize, for several reasons. In addition, we have articulated yet another route, that is by way of taking the matter to the United Nations. Hence, the current push by both the UDP and the PUP, which is sponsored by the OAS, is inherently skewed in favour of Guatemala, because (1) only Belize stands to lose anything tangible, whereby Guatemala does not, (2) the sole element that has been placed on the agenda is the question of whether or not Belize shall cede land to Guatemala; there is no mention of possible monetary compensation as yet another option and (3) the GOB officials, in the person of the Foreign Minister, who should be knowledgeable of our nation's system of governance, continues to speak as though going to the ICJ is a done deal, knowing full well that unless the matter of the Compromis is ratified by the Senate, it is not in-line with the manner outlined in the Belize Constitution pertaining to the ratification of such agreements and treaties. Of note, despite the over-saturation of attorney who are part of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition (the PUP) none appear all-to-anxious to highlight this fact.

Therefore Belizeans and true friends of Belize, the Belize Progressive Party stands firm on our position of "NO to the ICJ" and we stand in solidarity with the brave, patriotic Belizeans who comprise the Belize Territorial Volunteers, as they continue in their proactive, hands-on efforts to educate and sensitise the people of this nation as to the reality of our border and the right of Belizeans to traverse every single inch of this Jewell.

In that regard, the BPP shall join the BTV on Tuesday, 8th March 2016 in picketing the sitting of the House, at the National Assembly Building, in Belmopan, beginning at 9:00 AM.

Belizeans, one and all, based on the long line of incidents and developments since 2008 it should be clear that your elected officials have demonstrated only: impotence, obstinance and outright willful negligence in their mishandling of the existential threat posed by Guatemala. As a result, the leadership vacuum must be filled and the BPP shall demonstrate its wherewithal to provide said leadership for the nation.

Therefore, on this "Belizean Benefactors/Baron Bliss Day", I urge one and all to take an introspective look at yourself, the untenable state of our nation's security and ask (1) whether you are satisfied with the manner it has been handled and (2) what shall you do about it?

In that regard, I invite you to support the BTV as well as the only political party, the BPP, that has the moral suasion and wherewith all to say, unequivocally

"NO TO THE ICJ! AND DOWN WITH THOSE WHO HAVE SHIRKED THEIR RESPONSIBILITY OF ENSURING AND MAINTAINING THE WELL-BEING OF BELIZE'S TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY."

With that, I bid Belizeans and true friends of Belize, both at home and abroad, a Happy and hopefully reflective "Benefactors/Baron Bliss Day!"

Let the spirit of the Hon. Philip S.W. Goldson live on, by way of heeding his sage words, in which he stated, "The time to save your country is (now), before you lose it.

With that in mind, let us march on Independence Hill and let each and every one of those who support the PUDP "4A Policy", that enough is enough and judgement day draweth nigh, for we shall not allow their contemptuous and dangerous handling of Guatemala's intransigence and outright aggression, go unfettered. Those who are culpable must be held accountable.

8867 Today, 8867 Tomorrow, 8867 Forever!

Belize, Sovereign and Free - NO ICJ!

March 3rd, 2016

PRESS RELEASE

WHEREAS, on Saturday February 27th, 2015, exactly one year ago, 37 Belizeans were unlawfully detained by Guatemalan military while in Belizean territorial waters, and;

WHEREAS, on Saturday February 27th, 2016, in commemoration of the first anniversary of said incident, “armed” Guatemalan military vessels unlawfully entered Belizean territorial waters and blocked ” unarmed” Belizean civilians from the free use and enjoyment of the Belizean side of the Sarstoon river, and;

WHEREAS, our Belizean government has downplayed such aggression and unlawful entry by the Guatemalan military;

The Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) now hereby calls on all Belizeans from the Rio Hondo to the Sarstoon, to participate in a peaceful and energetic picketing of the sitting of the House of Representative on Tuesday March 8th, 2016 at 9 a.m.

END


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