Senator disputes Foreign Minister’s comments

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Updated: August 18, 2015

Love News was one of the several media houses which made the trip to Sarstoon Island and recorded on tape the entire experience. Footage shows that Guatemala Armed forces attempted to stop Belizeans from entering the mouth of the Sarstoon River in order to circle Sarstoon Island. Some of the footage was repeated tonight. However, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred ELrington, does not believe the Belize media. Well at least that is what he reportedly told the Amandala newspaper. Elrington states that he cannot go by what was reported or by the Belize Territorial Volunteers because he cannot be sure that we were indeed in Belizean waters and that he needs to receive a report from the Organization of American States in order to act. One of the people, who made the trip, Senator Lisa Shoman, responded to the Foreign Minister’s comments.

Senator Lisa Shoman

“I remind the Foreign Minister that Belize is not at war with Guatemala nor did we seek a casus belli. We went out there to make a political statement which is this, Belize is for Belizeans, we have our territorial integrity and our sovereignty. We were not out there to provoke anyone. It is a complete outrage to hear from my government that the presence of Guatemalan armed forces in Belizean waters yesterday was a courtesy to me, you and to anyone else who was out there. That is absolutely outrageous and untrue. They were not there for courtesy. They were there to try and assert control over us and questions can be put to the coast guard, the BDF, the port authority and whoever else the foreign minister cares to question but the fact remains that they were not there. We were there, the OAS can give their account but every single member of the media who was out there and every member of the public who was out there has the same story to tell, that we were confronted and aggressed by Guatemalans. Guatemala armed forces in our waters questioned, held back, tried to corral us, tried to contain us, couldn’t do it. As I will make in writing to my own government my disappointment at the stance that the foreign minister has taken and my demand that my government make a formal note of Guatemala as to what occurred on Sunday. That is my right as a member of the national assembly. It is my right as a member of the legislature and the executive has absolutely no right to stop me or any other Belizean.”