In preparation for the referendum scheduled for 6th October, 2013, the Government of Belize launched its Public Awareness Campaign on Wednesday, January 23, 2013, at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City.
At the Opening Ceremony of the GOB's ICJ public awareness campaign, leaders and dignitaries from across the majority of Belize's social, political and religious sector gathered to validate the significance of an event that is sure to be noted in Belize's history.
Everyone listened intently as the Referendum Secretariat opened the discussion of what led up to this decision to let the nation choose whether or not they support settling this matter in court.
"Today, the Ministry will launch its public awareness campaign, preparatory to referendum on October 6, to determine whether the people of Belize support referring the Guatemalan claim to the International Court of Justice for Final Settlement. Belize has participated in negotiations aimed settling this dispute since 1962. Over the past half century, many patriotic, nationalist, political leaders and public officers, often with the support of dedicated private sector leaders serving on various advisory commissions and committees have tried mightily to come up with a settlement that would have enabled us to put this dispute behind us,” stated H. E. James Murphy - Referendum Secretariat.
“Belizeans will have the opportunity to decide whether Guatemalan Claim should be referred to the ICJ for final settlement. Over the course of the next nine months, the public awareness campaign will seek to sensitize Belizeans across the length and breadth of our great country, to the facts of the dispute, and about the adjudication process of reaching a final and definitive settlement. We will present the pros, the cons, and the risks of referring the dispute to the ICJ. The Belizean people, in their informed wisdom, will then make an informed decision."
The education campaign will be in three month stages. In the first three months, the committee will be meeting with different schools and institutions across the country. In the second three-month stage, the committee will be holding meeting at different, towns and villages across the country, and in the last increment, they will intensify the campaign.
The Campaign's purpose is to educate and inform citizens on the ongoing Belize-Guatemala territorial diferendum as well as prepare citizens to vote on whether to refer Guatemala's claim to Belize to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for final settlement. (News Source: 7 News Belize)