fbpx
Ministry of Agriculture warns of FAKE profile
October 5, 2023
Newly appointed U.N. resident coordinator and Special Envoy discuss future collaborations
October 5, 2023

Government working to de-escalate tension in Sarstoon as Territorial Volunteers told by Prime Minister: ‘Be careful’

Posted: Thursday, October 5, 2023. 2:11 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: As happens periodically, Belizeans traversing the Sarstoon River have run into patrols by the Guatemalan Armed Forces which result in “hard talk” from the latter of staying, literally, within your lane – while Guatemala claims the entire Sarstoon River and island, the mid-point channel is the internationally recognized boundary line.

After two recent confrontations between Wil Maheia’s Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) and the Guatemalans, both considered to have occurred within Belizean territory, Belmopan is scrambling to craft a solution and de-escalate tensions.

As we have reported, Minister of Defence Florencio Marin Jr met with the BTV in Punta Gorda on Wednesday and was informed that the BTV was solely patrolling against illegal fishing and the use of gill nets in the river and was not trying to directly antagonize the Guatemalans. The Government was receptive of increasing patrols and working on the Sarstoon Forward Operating Base where working conditions have deteriorated.

Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs Eamon Courtenay reiterated the national position: Belizeans should be able to move freely in our portion of the Sarstoon: “The position is that Belizeans are entitled to traverse any part of Belize. That’s the first point and so the fact that people want to go into the Sarstoon as long as they stay on the Belize side, that is their right.”

He added that the Guatemalans’ tone needs to be lowered and has been working with all the “Friends of Belize” to get them to see reason: “We have been working with diplomatic channels. I’ve spoken with the Secretary General of the OAS, I’ve spoken with the Foreign Minister of Guatemala, I’ve spoken with other friendly countries seeking to try to get the Guatemalans and the Belizean security forces to at least start communicating, to try to ensure that no incident occurs when Belizeans want to go into the Sarstoon. That process is unfolding. We are in constant contact with each other and I am hoping first of all that there is no incident. And secondly, that there will be respect for Belize’s territorial integrity. That we will insist on.”

And until the matter can be resolved, added Prime Minister John Briceno, Belizeans should not be seen to be “taunting” the Guatemalans as we would be seriously outnumbered if worse comes to worst: “We need to be realistic. We have about a thousand soldiers. Guatemala has probably about 19,000-20,000. They have gunships. They have all the latest equipment and technology to go to war and we don’t. So we could never reach to the point where we say we’re going to pick up our guns against Guatemala. …I say that, for instance, if you have a bull, a wild bull in your land, you’re not going to go and jump up in front of that bull and wave your flag because it’s going to attack you. What you need to do to see how you could pen the bull and how you could deal with it… So we need to be careful.”

The Government and the Volunteers have committed to follow-up meetings and continuous dialogue.

 

Advertise with the mоѕt vіѕіtеd nеwѕ ѕіtе іn Belize ~ We offer fully customizable and flexible digital marketing packages. Your content is delivered instantly to thousands of users in Belize and abroad! Contact us at mаrkеtіng@brеаkіngbеlіzеnеwѕ.соm or call us at 501-601-0315.

 

© 2023, BreakingBelizeNews.com. Content is copyrighted and requires written permission for reprinting in online or print media. Theft of content without permission/payment is punishable by law.

Comments

  • Galen University
  • Belmopan Aggregates
  • Belmopan Aggregates
  • larry waight
  • Belmopan Aggregates
  • cahal pech village resort
  • Galen University
  • Shindaiwa
  • Belmopan Aggregates