Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2018. 2:35 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, followed up comments he made yesterday regarding the referendum on taking the Guatemalan territorial claim to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), by saying regardless of the outcome of Belize’s referendum next year, he expects there will be conflict at the border.
According to Saldivar, “Whether we vote yes or whether we vote no, there are security implications for Belize especially along our borders. Both scenarios place our soldiers in the line of fire, place their lives at risk, and therefore carry a human cost.” He added though that he believes going to the ICJ, is the more peaceful of the the two solutions.
He explained that in the months since Guatemala held its referendum, in which Guatemalans voted in favor of going to the ICJ, there has been an increase in encroachment activities along the western border, causing the BDF to increase patrols in the area. “These reactions by Guatemalan civilians clearly indicate that even with a ‘no’ vote, there are security implications for Belize and our own security forces will need to make the necessary preparations and investment for the new level of conflict that will arise on the border with a ‘no’ vote from Belize,” he said.
On the other hand, he explained, if Belize chooses to go to the ICJ and the outcome is in our favor, Belize may still meet resistance from the Guatemalan side. “Though we do not expect such resistance from the military, our security forces must still be prepared,” Saldivar said. He added that civilians looking for land to farm may continue to cause problems along the border regardless of the outcome of Belize’s referendum and any ruling the ICJ may hand down.
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