Posted: Wednesday, October 4, 2023. 2:21 pm CST.
By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: Today, the Government of Belize represented by the Minister of Defence, Florencio Marin Jr. and Minister of State Oscar Mira met with members of the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) to discuss concerns following repeated aggression by Guatemalan Armed Forces in the Sarstoon.
The BTV was formed 20 years ago when concerned citizens saw the need for Belizean presence at the Sarstoon and for the protection and conservation of marine resources that illegal Guatemalan fishers continuously overharvest with the use of gill nets.
During the historic meeting today, the Government expressed concerns about the safety of the BTV during their missions to the Sarstoon.
The BTV further maintained that all their missions are peaceful and are not done to antagonize the Guatemalan Armed Forces.
Both parties committed to continuous support for improving the living conditions at the Sarstoon Base and follow-up meetings for continuous improvement at Belize’s borders.
The Ministers were receptive to volunteer support which has been offered by the BTV.
The BTV highlighted the benefits of extra patrols being done in the area.
The BTV confirmed that illegal fishing within Belize’s maritime area has reduced due to the presence of the Belize Defence Force members.
The BTV expressed gratitude to the Government of Belize for valuing and prioritizing the nation’s territorial integrity.
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