Presentation by George Myvett, (The Belize Peace Movement) at the 2nd Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
The territorial dispute between Guatemala and Britain initially and subsequently between Guatemala and Belize over the territorial domain of the latter has been an intractable problem for many decades. After a range of interventions has been attempted including: negotiations, mediation, conciliation and facilitation – which have not yielded an satisfactory outcome in terms of resolving the dispute, the principals have committed to a judicial settlement, pending requisite approval from their respective citizenry. Guatemala has to date polled its citizens through a mutually agreed upon referendum, with the result in the affirmative to proceed to the ICJ. Belize has been in the process of mobilizing its citizenry for a referendum vote on said issue over the last year. This has been a highly emotive, contentious and controversial matter. In this context, this paper presents arguments for why Belize should not go the ICJ and makes recommendations on a way forward.
Key words: Belize-Guatemala relations, border dispute, International Court of Justice (ICJ), 2019 national referendum