Friday, August 14th, 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: “Ill-advised and downright dangerous,” is the assessment given by the National Security Council following its meeting today to consider the merits of the Belize Territorial Volunteers’ planned expedition to Sarstoon Island this Sunday.
The NSC argues that the military has asserted sovereignty on our side of the Sarstoon by sending troops to the Cadenas outpost, a regular exercise that ensures repeated encounters with the Guatemalans. At every turn, it says, our men have maintained our position.
So what’s wrong with civilians getting involved? The NSC says that no encounter in the area has resulted in gun fire because the military make use of their training. “Civilians for all the reasons that are so obvious and overpowering, have no business placing themselves in harm’s way and complicating and endangering our military’s accustomed, tried and true way of dealing with Guatemala’s claimed ownership of all of the Sarstoon,” it concludes.
The Council’s concern for the safety of Belizean citizens has led it to put in place a contingency plan to try to deal with all possible consequences of the action of the Territorial Volunteers.
It says, “This plan involves local positioning, outreach and coordination with key diplomatic partners and a central role for the OAS who will be in the vicinity of the Sarstoon Island in an observer/peace-keeping role even before the expedition arrives.
Notwithstanding all this, given the nature of the situation, the only way to eliminate all risk is for the expedition to be called off; and the NSC advises those in charge to do precisely that.”
The Council’s release concludes: “All Belizeans support the maintenance of Belizean sovereignty over the entirety of Belizean territory. In the case of the Sarstoon, the NSC insists that the method of so doing is best left to the country’s military and its diplomats.”
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