Role of OAS clarified

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Updated: August 18, 2015

Media from Guatemala recorded the entire confrontation between Belizeans and Guatemalan armed forces and like the armed forces, they too were in Belizean waters. They, as expected, put their own spin on the situation, reporting that Belizeans were abusive and unmannerly. Reports from several Guatemalan media houses stated that Belizeans were trying to lodge a Belizean Flag on Sarstoon Island, which they reported belongs to Guatemala. Also there were the representatives from the Organization of American States, OAS. The National Security Council says, quote, the presence of the OAS and the diplomatic safety net that the Government of Belize had secured in collaboration with key allies as part of its contingency measures, succeeded in averting any major fallout from this no doubt inadvertent occurrence”, end of quote. Now, those on the trip believe that the representatives of the OAS had the responsibility of intervening when the Guatemala military attempted the stop Belizeans. Senator Lisa Shoman, says that was not their job.

Senator Lisa Shoman

“The OAS was out there as independent observers, they went to observe the process. Let me make it clear. Belize is a full member state of the OAS like Guatemala. These are people who have been engaged in our process for at least twelve years. They know what is at stake and they came to observe and be able to act as independent witnesses. The world can say that you and I were biased because we are Belizeans, the world cannot say that about the OAS so I am glad they were out there. They were not out there to prevent, they were not out there to exchange, they were not out there to instruct the Guatemalans or even tell us that we should not go. As you can see at no point in time did the OAS even try to dissuade us from going.”