Letter: ICJ education campaign in Belize: Funding and inclusion


Dear Sir:

Amid the news of none other than the British government’s announcement of its donation of BZ$1.3 million toward the ICJ referendum campaign, the Belize Progressive Party (BPP) registers it most staunch complaint, due to the fact the bi-partisan government of Belize “education campaign” has hitherto proven a complete and utter farce.

On several occasions, the BPP has raised its concern with the one-sided manner in which the campaign; is being conducted. Accordingly, we have publicly requested the inclusion of those who support a “NO” vote on the referendum, in order to ensure Belizeans are fully aware of the entire length, breadth and underlying consequences that accompany the upcoming poll.

Instead of being given deference, the bi-partisan PUDP-led initiative continues summarily to ignore the BPP’s requests to play a much-needed role in this process. The BPP is dissatisfied with the high-minded and myopic approach being undertaken by the powers that be, because failing to provide Belizeans with a comprehensive overview of the pros, as well as the cons, regarding how Belizeans should vote on the referendum, is short-sighted, disingenuous and outright dangerous!

On occasions such as this, much like with the considerable contribution of US$250,000 from the US embassy in Belize to launch this effort, we are compelled to call on the financial donors, who claim to be neutral, for them to mandate that all perspectives concerning this existential issue be included as equal components in this initiative.

Not to be lost in this call for equity is the UNDP. According to its representative to Belize, Christian Alvarez Volkmann, that organisation shall provide technical support and we quote, “…it is important that the national debate about the referendum brings in all the stakeholders; civil society, churches, private sector, etc…everybody. We will provide technical assistance so that the campaign is done well.”

Bearing this in mind, we call on the UNDP representative to ensure that, indeed, those who wish to share the perspective that opposes the GOB’s singular narrative, be afforded the opportunity to contribute to the national dialogue, on equal footing. Failure to do so would not only prove hypocritical, but also detrimental to the nation, for given the gravity of the impending referendum on 10th April 2019, any entity that claims to be neutral must ensure that our contribution is included.

Therefore, the BPP reiterates its long-held position that we are more than ready, willing and able to take part in the education process concerning the referendum and, once again, make this public appeal to: the British High Commission, the US embassy, the UNDP and the government of Belize, kindly to make good on your promise to afford the people of Belize an unbiased education campaign.

In fulfillment of such, failure (whether wilful or otherwise) to include the BPP would speak volumes as to your underlying intentions concerning this matter that is critical to Belize’s future.

Belize Progressive Party
8867 Today, 8867 Tomorrow, 8867 Forever
Belize, Sovereign and Free – NO ICJ!



  1. Are these so-called “friend of Belize” serious about having an even-handed approach toward the GOB’s Referendum Education Campaign?

    Well, from the looks of things, the British, the Americans and the UNDP do not appear to be even remotely concerned with having the Belizean people be afforded comprehensive exposure to this existential concern.

    They continue to pour millions of dollars into the slush fund, which more than likely has questionable accountability (if that), regarding just how the monies are being spent. To boot, no noteworthy component of the ongoing campaign involves the alternative perspective to the flawed, myopic, one-sided singular narrative being espoused by the GOB, as to their assertion that Belize has no choice but to go to the ICJ.

    Given the gravity of this issue, such an approach grossly short-changes the Belizean people from gaining a fuller perspective of the matter at hand. In addition from yet another viewpoint, such woeful negligence demonstrates the loose manner in which taxpayers’ monies from the US and UK are frivolously being spent, in a less-than-equitable and fair fashion. This should be cause for alarm, not only in Belize, but also on both sides of the pond!

    To the powers that be, place your honour in line with the monies you donated and mandate that the Belize Progressive Party – BPP is given its rightful seat at the table, so we can enhance the dialogue by articulating our well-researched position, that going to the ICJ under the parameters set by the Special Agreement/Compromis is not in Belize’s best interest and that viable alternatives exist.

    After all, given the gravity of the impending referendum, as it relates to Belize’s future, it is your duty to ensure Belizeans are afforded the most inclusive Referendum Education Campaign possible.

    This, in turn, will serve well to ensure that good governance practises are maintained, meanwhile providing that the hard earned taxes of citizens from the donor nations are being spent in as equitable and fiscally sound manner as possible.

    This situation is real and the Belizean people deserve full disclosure.

    Paco Smith
    Belize Progressive Party – BPP

    8867 Today 8867 Tomorrow 8867 Forever
    Belize, Sovereign and Free – NO ICJ!


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