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EDITORIAL – August 31st. 2018

August 31
11:49 2018

It is true that less than four years after the Battle of St. George’s Caye in 1798, the stunning effect of this victory by the Baymen was diminished by the Treaty of Amiens (March 1802).

In this treaty Britain agreed to give back to Spain all her possessions in the Americas, including the Settlement in Belize, excepting Trinidad alone. By this treaty Britain declined to claim possession by right of conquest, but continued to occupy the land and extended their holdings to the Sarstoon.

After failing to take the settlement with her vastly superior force of 32 ships and 2,000 troops in 1798, Spain was forced to reflect on what kind of force she would need to dislodge the British.

In the end she decided it was not worth the effort, and let the British have their way. British occupation of Belize was a reality a decade before Guatemala and the other Central American countries procured their independence from Spain in 1821.

Because of the Treaty of Amiens Belize is restrained from claiming ownership through force of arms, but that does nothing to invalidate our claim of ownership through uninterrupted occupation.

The Treaty of 1859 showed beyond any doubt that Belize is indeed a separate country with well-defined borders.

Belizeans therefore have an iron-clad case for claiming ownership of this land – by virtue of uninterrupted occupation for more than 200 years and by virtue of a treaty defining our borders.

When we lift up our hearts later this month to celebrate the Tenth – the 220th anniversary of the Battle of St. George’s Caye, we will recall that it was nobility of purpose – willingness to fight for what is ours – that gave us this victory and this land.

This is the patriotic fervour we need to take us through to the next round – where we confront Guatemala in open court, in defence of our homeland.

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