By Aaron Humes: Working with great speed, the office of the Prime Minister this evening issued its second statement, this time rebutting the video statement by President of Guatemala Jimmy Morales which we reported on earlier.
After reiterating Belize’s history and tradition as a peace-loving country which respects international law and human rights, and insisting that our security forces and law enforcement would never deliberately attack civilians, especially minors, except in exercise of the right of self-defence, the release goes on to reiterate that the use of force is only as a last and justified resort, and adds that, quote, respect for life and rights must always include respect for the life and rights of Belizean law enforcement officials and security forces.
In this case the BDF reports of the incident indicate that our patrol in Belizean national territory came under attack to which they responded in justifiable self-defence.
The Government also relies on support from Friends for Conservation and Development, some of whose members were in the patrol, and who the Government says confirmed that our patrol responded AFTER they were fired upon and in fear of their lives.
The Government cites the murder of Special Constable Danny Conorquie and the shooting of Sgt. Richard Lambey as evidence of, quote, a continued pattern of aggression by Guatemalan civilians engaged in illegal activities on Belize’s side of the Adjacency Zone.
It closes by reminding that both countries are committed to the 2005 Confidence Building Measures which obliges both Governments to act responsibly in word and indeed when dealing with any incident that may occur along the border, and says it will continue to follow these.
Directly addressing Morales, the release states, quote, In this regard, we find the statements made and position taken by President Morales to be unhelpful and inflammatory. The current amassing of Guatemalan troops in the border areas, including the Sarstoon River, only adds volatility to the tensions already created by illicit activities in these areas. End quote.
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