13 Days Later: PUP Comments on Incident at Sarstoon Island

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Updated: June 9, 2015

It has been almost two weeks since there was a confrontation between members of the Belize Coast Guard and the Guatemalan Naval officers on the Sarstoon Island in southern Belize.  There have been responses from the Ministry of National Security, the Belize Coast Guard as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while the Opposition Party went silent … at least until today when they issued an official press release.  It is a brief release but one, that is demanding responses from the Prime Minister.  The release reads, in its entirety, quote, “The People’s United Party condemns the feeble response by the Barrow Administration to the armed incursion into Belizean territory by the Guatemalan Armed Forces on Thursday May 28, 2015.  The conflicting accounts of the events given by the government are further cause for concern. Particularly so since, reportedly, no less than the Prime Minister ordered the withdrawal of the members of the Belize Coast Guard from the Sarstoon Island, an island well inside Belize’s borders. The declared mission, which was to conduct an overt reconnaissance patrol, does not in the normal course require Prime Ministerial approval to come to an end.  The PUP therefore rejects the account given by the Belize Coast Guard that the mission had been completed and that that was what prompted their “extraction”.  The PUP calls on the Prime Minister to: 1. immediately explain to the Belizean people why he ordered the withdrawal of the Belize Coast Guard from Belizean territory in the face of such overt acts of aggression by Guatemala. 2. Immediately cause a temporary observation post to be established on the Sarstoon Island to be manned by both the Belize Coast Guard and the Belize Defense Force until such time that a permanent Forward Operating Base for the Belize Coast Guard can be established. 3. Urgently make the necessary strategic investments in Belize’s national security apparatus to ensure the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Belize.”  End of quote.