Instead of Negotiating a Territorial Dispute…

Why not negotiate the facilitation of a mutual and equitable benefit to each other’s economic growth ?


As we count down towards 2017, we think on a new year of hope, of peace and of prosperity towards our personal goals. And while we all might have something positive to say about how we can achieve this goal, we might even show willingness to the point of making a promise or a pledge. As a country and a people it is not so different. Our Leaders must be firm but willing to seek out a peaceful coexistence with our neighbouring Guatemala to the point of exchanging and sharing proposals that will express a prosperous economic growth that will benefit the people on both sides of the border.

Instead of negotiating a territorial dispute that will be a no win situation or an inevitable military confrontation we can, if we wanted to, negotiate commercial and industrial bilateral agreements that will create business opportunities, Private sector investment that will create jobs on both sides which  will improve our neighbourliness.

There must be a high degree of willingness by the political regimes on both sides, people on both sides have much more to gain, and however, there must also be solid coordination to address the existing challenges like security, as well as harmonizing tax policies between the two governments and strengthen the transparency of the financial system. Joint projects and collaboration to solve internal problems of each country and to compliment SICA with that sense of regional solidarity, financial stability, and security.

We cannot and must not continue to shy away from the fact that the relationship between Guatemala and Belize has been hampered over the last century by a series of disputes inherited from the past, with no place in the realities of the current world order. Grievances and claims due to partial readings of historical events that seem ridiculous for contemporary actors, as they should be more interested in the future prosperity of its people.

The geopolitical realities of the past shaped frontiers, economies and major works or the lack of them. In order to strengthen the political pacts it is better to overcome or take the economic advantage of these inherited conditions. Colonial practices left our region behind, but they have also offered irreplaceable planetary links.

No one denies the peninsular heritage that installs a part of our knowledge in Western culture: language, philosophy and traditions. However, there were also mechanisms of contempt and exclusion that have depressed creativity and in many cases broken the Mayan cultural thread. We fight to restore it without racist overtones.

In the case of our beloved and treasured Belize, there is a rich Caribbean tradition. The coherence and strength of this population formed in the exchange currents between the Antilles and beyond will have to enrich the Central American culture in the near future if the basic problems of relationship between Guatemala and Belize is solved.

One of both our obstacle in the expression has been the neglect of pluri-lingual reality. Presently, there is an eagerness to learn English on the Guatemalan side whilst Spanish is already fluently spoken in Belize. So, instead of both countries promoting there national languages, Spanish on one side whilst English on the other, good business relations with one another, will help in the aspirations of an important part of the population to master both languages.

For all these reasons, now that our governments have openly chosen the ICJ as the venue to solve their differences, it has become necessary for all our people to move forward participating in the referendum to submit the territorial, insular and maritime claim to the International Court of Justice, ICJ.

The ICJ should be required to apply international regulations to resolve our territorial and maritime boundaries. The fluvial should be given the maximum attention so that the solution satisfies the demands of justice in the recognized boundaries. The easiest thing seems to be the land line, but the allegations will always have to be taken care of so that the judges define what is convenient for justice.

There should be no room, when the results is realized, that some say that it was better, without it. With the growth of contraband and transnational crime on both sides of the border, any continued poor relations will only benefit and stimulate the growth of those thoughtless criminals that operate in the vicinity of our borders.

Only joint programs and agreements in all the areas of human interest, can bring about a convenient and desirable situation. Leave behind the past, to establish a relationship of peaceful friendship that will make us partners in prosperous development that will benefit people of both nations.