By BBN Staff: The Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) today issued a press release stating that August 24, 2015 is a date which will live on in shame and regret. The Belize government was informed by Guatemala that the Sarstoon Island and Belize’s half of the Sarstoon River would be treated as Guatemala territory and Belizeans were not to visit these areas without the permission of Guatemalan authorities, the BTV said.
“Guatemala also accused our government of distorting the truth by telling Belizeans that the B.D.F. has always exercised Belizean sovereignty when it frequently uses the Northern half of the Sarstoon River. Guatemala further states that they allow B.D.F. as a matter of courtesy,” the BTV says.
According to the BTV, Guatemala has repeatedly scolded our government for allowing the BTV to enter and travel on the Belize half of the Sarstoon River. The Belizean government had denounced and disowned the BTV in a written letter to the Guatemalan government, the release noted.
These matters are contained in a diplomatic note with reference DEMIN-17200036015 dated 24th August, 2015, a copy of which is in the possession of the BTV, it continued.
The BTV says that it recalls with anger and disappointment, the cowardly act of the Belize government when it cow-towed to Guatemala and passed a law preventing the BTV and all Belizeans from visiting the Sarstoon River, and made it criminal offence. Belizeans were told the law was only temporary to allow Belize to sign a protocol with Guatemala in a meeting at Istanbul Turkey, 2016.
“To the everlasting shame of the government, no protocol has been signed. Neither has the ‘Friends of Belize’: Caricom, the Commonwealth countries or the United Nations have ever been notified that Guatemala carried out a land grab using its military to take possession and control of our Sarstoon Island and our half of the Sarstoon River, which has always been an integral part of the sovereign territory of Belize,” it said.
The BTV is calling on the government of Belize to suspend any further talks or activity relating to the referendum and the International Court of Justice until Guatemala withdraws its military from Belize’s half of the Sarstoon River.
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