In regards to your statement “I don’t know if they (the Guates) know when they are in Belize territorial waters. There is nothing demarcating there.”
I grew up in Placencia. 6th generation Placencian. I am a fisherman’s son like most people who were born and grew up in Placencia. As a kid going out fishing with my father, he could find a fishing ‘drop’ down to the feet, without using a GPS. He can still do this today without a GPS. Every single fisherman in Belize can do the same thing without a GPS. The Guats have sophisticated GPS system, they know where they are down to the inch. They knew exactly where they were on August 16, 2015 at the Sarstoon River, down to the inch.
In regards to your statement ” “I am saying to you that I do not take the word of the media as gospel. I prefer to take the word of an impartial third party, participant or witness. When we receive word from that third party or participant, the government is going to take whatever steps is necessary.”
The media and private citizens who were a part of the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) excursion to Sarstoon Island recorded video footage and still photos. These recorded moving and still images gives an objective (third party) view of the occurrences that took place at our Sarstoon River during the BTV’s Sarstoon Island expedition. Ask the media for an uncut version, so that you can be 100% certain that what they reported in their news manuscript matches up with their recorded media.
Action is what determines character, and the actions of our Government were:
Dissuading Belizean citizens from venturing and exploring their own country.
o Earlier this month the Belize Tourism Board launched a campaign to promote local tourism. Don’t you believe that you, the Government of Belize, could have participated by turning this expedition into an educational and tourism related expedition that would have brought thousands of Belizeans from all across Belize, Belizeans who would have spent money into the depressed local economy of Punta Gorda town and surrounding areas? Don’t you think that would have been promoting local tourism?
Not protecting non-hostile Belizean citizens on Belizean territory, who went to Sarstoon Island on an educational and awareness expedition.
o Here is an analogy: Belize can be considered the household of all Belizeans. All Belizeans can be considered the children of that household. The Government can be considered the parents of the household. One of the first instincts any parent has is to protect their children, no matter what. You ordered the coast guard to do nothing even after the Guatemala coast guard clearly came into Belizean territorial waters and put the lives of Belizeans at risk by bumping our smaller vessels with their much bigger vessel, which could have capsized one of our vessels and a Belizean could have gotten hurt or killed. Yet, no reaction from those who have sworn to protect Belizeans. I wonder, would any of you in Cabinet sit around if something like this happened to your child, and not react? If that is the case, I feel sorry for your children.
o The BTV and the Belizeans who joined them, never stated in any way or form, that this expedition was one with ill-intent or hostility, it was to educate and bring awareness, and it is abundantly clear that the organizers of the expedition took every precaution to make sure that all vessels stayed within Belizean territorial waters.
The primary purpose of government is to protect individual rights and freedom. On Sunday our Government failed to uphold the most important part of our Constitution, and that is the protection of our Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of Belizeans, such as stated in Part II 3 (a) life, liberty, security of person… (b) freedom of expression and of assembly and association; and last but not least, 10.-(l) A person shall not be deprived of his freedom of movement, that is to say, the right to move freely throughout Belize, the right to reside in any part of Belize, the right to enter Belize, the right to leave Belize and immunity from expulsion from Belize.
I commend and salute all the brave Belizeans whom went on the BTV-organized Sarstoon Island expedition, and all the Belizeans who had the safety of the group and the sovereignty of Belize in their hearts and prayers. The BTV should celebrate, every year, the monumental and symbolic statement that was made on August 16, 2015, and that statement is – we will assert and protect our territorial integrity since the Government of Belize won’t – and I would like to add that we need to start protecting each other, for we can no longer depend on the state to protect us from internal and external enemies.
In conclusion, I would like to iterate this statement to our security forces, “If the tax-gatherer, or any other public officer, asks me, as one has done, “But what shall I do?” my answer is, “If you really wish to do anything, resign your office.” When the subject has refused allegiance, and the officer has resigned from office, then the revolution is accomplished. But even suppose blood should flow. Is there not a sort of blood shed when the conscience is wounded? Through this wound a man’s real manhood and immortality flow out, and he bleeds to an everlasting death. I see this blood flowing now.” Henry David Thoreau – Civil Disobedience.
Charles Leslie Jr. is the Chairman of the Belize Unity Alliance and the former independent Chairman of Placencia Village (2010 – 2013). He holds an Associates degree in business, accounting and economics and has over 20 years business experience.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the Belize Media Group.
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