Posted: Friday, September 29, 2023. 9:24 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: A regular patrol of Wil Maheia’s Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) on the Sarstoon River once again resulted in a confrontation with the Guatemalan navy.
According to videos sent by Maheia, the BTV were patrolling and had just spotted Guatemalan fishermen clearly in Belizean waters, but the two navy boats from the Guatemalan side in Livingston apparently chased Maheia’s boat to in front of the Belize Defence Force (BDF) Forward Operating Base overlooking the Sarstoon. The BDF did not step in this time as they did on September 10 when several Belizean flags planted on Sarstoon Island were removed by the Guatemalan armed forces.
The confrontation was primarily verbal. When Maheia told the soldiers they were in Belizean territory, one responded that he should “visit the Captain’s office” if he wanted to enter Guatemalan territory and comply with Guatemalan law.
Maheia insisted that he was in Belizean territory and the same soldier shouted back, “This is not Belizean territory. You are talking about things that you don’t know about. Comply with the Guatemalan law!” Maheia rejoined that the soldiers ought to comply with Belizean law.
Maheia insists there should be more patrols of the area day and night to stop illegal fishing with gill nets and other violations. Last week at the United Nations General Assembly, the Guatemalan foreign minister Mario Bucaro referred to “radical” groups like Maheia’s BTV who he says have been trying to cause problems between two countries that have none, except for the territorial claim being resolved at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
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