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E D I T O R I A L – Aug. 10th.

August 10
10:40 2018

Belize will have no trouble at all destroying the Guatemalan myth that she inherited and now owns the land in Belize from the Sibun River to the Sarstoon when the case comes up before the ICJ.

All we have to do is show that there is a long-standing treaty defining the Belize borders with Guatemala. .

Belize does not have one treaty. We have two. The 1859 Treaty signed between Britainand Guatemala is the first. The Exchange ofNotes, signed on August 26, 1931 is the second.

Article 1 of the 1859 Treaty states: “It is agreed between Her Britannic Majesty and the Republic of Guatemala that the boundary between the Republic and the British Settlement and possession in the Bay of Honduras as they existed previous and on the lastday of January, 1850, and have continuedto exist up to the present time, is as follows:

“Beginning at the mouth of the River Sarstoon in the Bay of Honduras and proceeding up the mid-channel thereof to Gracias a Dios Falls, then turning to the right and continuing by a line drawn direct from Gracias a Dios Falls to Garbutt’s Falls on the River Belize and from Garbutt’s Falls duenorth until it strikes the Mexican frontier.”

In the 1931 Exchange of Notes signedby Guatemalan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Skinner Klee, Guatemala agreed to a physical survey of the border:

“The Government of Guatemala agrees to accept the concrete monuments at Garbutt’s Creek and the rapids of Gracias a Dios which were set up by the Commissioners of both Governments’ engineers… on the 8 and the 26 May, 1929 on the frontier between Guatemala and British Honduras according to the report drawn up at the Sarstoon River Bar by both delegates on the 20th day of the same month.

A copy of the report duly certified isenclosed herewith. These monuments thus determined, form part of the boundary line between British Honduras and the Republic of Guatemala.”

If general procedure prevails, there will be 17 eminent judges assigned to this ICJ case. They will come from among the brightest and best legal minds from all over the world, to consider the merits of the Guatemalan claim.

All Belize has to do is to produce the Treaty of 1859 and show that we have had the same boundaries up to the present day.

Guatemala can rave and rant to her heart’s content. She can renounce and denounce the treaty of 1859! She can call it treaty of cession which has lapsed, if she is so inclined.

It will not make the slightest bit of difference because a recent ruling by the ICJ of Libya v Chad shows unerringly where the court will stand. It will tell Guatemala that her Congress does not have the authority to unilaterally change an established international border with neighbouring Belize.

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