Belize. At the beginning of the year, the government of Belize, together with the governments of Guyana and Barbados, decided to recognize the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as the country’s highest judicial and appellate court. The decision was in line with Belize’s general policy of expanding cooperation within the Caribbean (CARICOM), which includes all Caribbean states. CCJ is located in Trinidad and Tobago.
According to COUNTRYAAH, Belize has a population of 383,071 (2018). Hurricane Richard, with wind gusts of up to 150 km per hour, struck the country at the end of October and tourists were evacuated from the hotels south of Belize City. While the hurricane weakened sharply when it reached the land, electricity was nonetheless extinguished throughout the country.
On April 15, 2005, there were strikes and protests against cuts and corruption within the Said Musa government. The riots cost 37 wounded – including 10 police officers – and severed communication links. Musa claimed responsibility for the riots on the opposition, stating that the telephone network had been interrupted by technicians at the largest telephone company, calling it “vandalism and sabotage”. The telephone company is, moreover, privatized, although the majority of the population would like to see it again at state hands. The demonstration was initially peaceful and organized by school students demanding Musa’s departure, but other less peaceful elements joined the demonstration, blocking streets and roads and later plundering business. Over 100 were arrested.
After three years of standstill, negotiations between Belize and Guatemala on territorial sea rights were resumed in February 2006. The future agreement will be sent to referendum in both countries and, if not adopted, the decision will be handed over to an arbitration court in the OAS..
Belize acts as a bridge builder between CARICOM in the Caribbean and the Central American common market SICA. In this role, in May 2007, the country organized a summit between the Heads of State of the Caribbean and Central America. The Summit discussed the possibility of extending the trade cooperation agreement between CARICOM and Costa Rica to apply throughout Central America.