O.A.S. will soon meet with Belize and Guatemala on Referendum

Albert Ramdin

Another date that is on the collective minds of the two countries is October sixth, the scheduled date for a dual referendum on whether or not the dispute should be forwarded to the International Court of Justice. Reports from Guatemala’s Prensa Libre newspaper have quoted both President Otto Perez Molina and Foreign Minister Fernando Carrera saying that there are concerns that would prevent Guatemala from participating in the Referendum. Perez Molina has said it would be a waste of millions of quetzales on the referendum. In an article today, Prensa Libre quotes Perez Molina saying that the O.A.S. Secretary General, Miguel Angel Insulza understands why Guatemala can’t stick to the October sixth date. The Guatemalan President also said that “There is a principle in international law that is known as good faith.”  He went on to say that Belize has acted in bad faith because it did not inform Guatemala that it amended its referendum act months prior to the signing of the special agreement. Earlier today, Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin more or less said that these spirited media talks with politicians should be discounted, because the policy that guides the future of Belize and Guatemala relations will be done in the presence of the O.A.S.


Albert Ramdin, Assistant OAS Secretary General

“What we hear in the press and that is not the basis for making policy, but to make decisions. But from what we hear there is need for clarity in terms of the position of both countries with regard to the schedule referendum. Only when that is expressed in a very formal direct sense, preferably at a meeting between both countries, facilitated by the O.A.S., only then we can give consideration to what next step can be undertaken. So this is where we are right now in terms of Belize. My focus is really on the broader issues of the O.A.S. engagement with Belize, but at the same time, rest assure that we have full attention for the facilitating role the O.A.S. plays in the context of Belize and Guatemala. The Secretary General is as I said earlier very much on top of the matter and has also heard the sentiments expressed in the press informally or otherwise. We need a formal place where these statements can be made in a formal manner. My understanding is that the Secretary General is going to convene a meeting of all parties as soon as possible. I cannot give you a date, but a commitment is there to not have these continued too long—statements made in the press—but that both governments express their views in a formal meeting. So that that will be the record and then on the basis of that record, consideration can be given how to further deal with the issue. The Secretary General is committed to, I believe do that, as soon as possible.”