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Belize: PM BARROW’S BIG ICJ REFERENDUM GAMBLE

On Wednesday, May 8, the International Court of Justice Referendum that the protocol to the Special Agreement triggers, will take place under the new law, the Belize Territorial Dispute Referendum Act, which Prime Minister Dean Barrow rushed through in a single sitting of the House of Representatives and which was subsequently passed by the Senate and became law when the Governor General signed it.

Next Wednesday’s ICJ referendum, however, will be held against the backdrop of a major constitutional challenge by five parliamentarians of the Opposition, People’s United Party (PUP) and a PUP standard bearer.

The result of the ICJ referendum could become void, if the court was to rule that the Special Agreement, signed in 2008 at the Organization of American States (OAS) headquarters in Washington, DC, by Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington, is unconstitutional or if the new law, which is also under challenge in the case, is found by the court to be improper. So, in effect, for Prime Minister Dean Barrow to proceed with the ICJ referendum is a calculated gamble which could end up costing the country millions of dollars for nothing.

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