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CARICOM reiterates support for Belize in territorial dispute with Guatemala

Posted: Monday, July 10, 2017. 2:47 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: The Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have reaffirmed their support for Belize in its ongoing territorial dispute with Guatemala.

At the 38th CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting held in Grenada last week, member countries characterized their support for Belize’s territorial integrity as “unflinching,” stating hope that both Belize and Guatemala will soon hold referenda on taking the dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

“Heads of Government noted, with regret, that the undertaking by both countries and the Organization of American States (OAS), to engage in the design and development of a mechanism of co-operation for the Sarstoon River, remains outstanding…,” CARICOM said in it’s post meeting communique this week. 

CARICOM also recognized the role of the Organization of American States (OAS) in the process of establishing that protocol and encouraged both countries along with the OAS to put more effort into getting the protocol finalized.

Will Maheia and the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) reported that just last week, Guatemalan military forces followed them well into Belizean waters, as they traveled to the Sarstoon to investigate the impact of a Guatemalan oil truck causing a spill in the river.

Maheia also said that Guatemalans were also illegally fishing within Belizean waters. The Ministry of Defense maintains that there is no established agreement, but that it is pending.

In 2016, Guatemalan forces, on several occasions insisted that there is an established protocol for the usage of the Sarstoon, going as far as accosting the Belize Defense Force during their patrols.

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