Posted: Friday, October 3, 2014. 8:41 pm CST.
Friday, October 3, 2014. PATRICK E. JONES Reporting: Prime Minister Dean Barrow today said that any attempt by Guatemalan civilians to make good on a threat to burn down a conservation outpost that is being constructed at Valentin, about 1 kilometer inside Belize’s territory near the Belize/Guatemala border “will be met by a response that will show them equal of in fact grater force.”
Speaking with reporters this morning in the wake of an incident in the Chiruibul Forest Reserve around 9:30 am (local time) where a group of about 3 dozen Guatemalan civilians armed with machetes confronted construction workers and their BDF escorts demanding the cessation of work on erecting the observation outpost.
According to the Prime Minister, the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of National Security George Lovell and the Commander of the Belize Defence Force, Brigadier General David Jones went on a helicopter fly-over of the area where the incursion occurred; but they did not see any of what Prime Minister Barrow called “the Guatemalan civilian invaders.”
The Prime Minister says that in the wake of the incident, reinforcements from the Operation Incisive Gallop exercise have been dispatched to the area and Brigadier General Jones has been in touch with his Guatemalan counterpart to notify him of the incursion.
Prime Minister Barrow says the military to military contact brought to the attention of the Guatemalan authorities that they need to get a handle on the situation so as to avoid a situation that would “result in the spilling of blood.”
The Prime Minister said that the fact that Guatemalan civilians entered Belizean territory and made threats as they did “is very worrying.”
Prime Minister Barrow says that the Guatemalans are “facey” to think that they can prevent Belize from patrolling and protecting its national territory and that any attempt to stop construction of the conservation outpost or patrols by Belizean authorities “is not going to happen.”
He said that “the BDF will do what it has to do” but that “it is high time that the Guatemala authorities step up and discharge their responsibilities to get a handle on their people, to place some controls on those villagers.”
Today’s incursion by armed Guatemalan civilians comes one week after a Special Constable attached to the Tourism Police Unit was murdered while on duty at the Caracol Archaeological site.
The government of Belize has not officially said that Guatemalan “invaders” are responsible for the murder of Danny Conorquie; but a public sentiment is that his killers are Guatemalans.
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