Foreign Minister updates on notes sent to Guatemala

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Updated: July 8, 2015

On a couple occasions the Government of Belize has sent protest notes to Guatemala following incidents in which it is believed our sovereignty was infringed upon.  Today Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington was asked about Guatemala’s response to the notifications.

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“I can’t’ tell you specifically in detail but it’s the kind of standard response that they gave which is that they don’t necessarily agree with the position we take their whole different views on these issues.”

Rene Trujillo, Love News

“So in a situation where they hold different ideas of what really happened how is that worked out.”

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“The important thing for both of us that we maintain calm and we maintain peace between the two countries so that if we have any matter that is deemed to be sufficiently important that we can’t agree on then we go back and try to iron it out at the OAS which we have provision for so we request assistance from the secretary general of the OAS to help us resolve whatever difference that we have.”

Minister Elrington was also asked about the protocol involved in instances like Sarstoon Island.

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“My understanding of the protocol really is that before such thing is to be done normally the National Security Council is informed and gives its consent, the cabinet is informed and gives its consent and then we normally notify the Guatemalans of our intentions and then it is expected that because all of us sit in the National Security Council the Coast Guard, the Defence Force that they understand and they know what the protocol is.

Renee Trujillo, Love News

“So would you say that perhaps there was some sort of slip by some units on our part on our local side here in terms of informing, because when I spoke to Major Jones he said that he was not informed that the Coast Guard would have been there on Sarstoon Island doing any kind of reconnaissance. So would you say that we perhaps did not follow protocol on our side?”

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Well actually there is a decision that was taken quite early that that was a desirable spot to have something done. The details as to what transpired subsequent to that I am not privy to but I do know that quite early it had been decided that the Belize Defence Force would have done something on our side of the Sarstoon. More detailed information on the matter I was not privy to.”