Opposition Senator requests copy of protest note

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Updated: August 26, 2015

Today, Senator Lisa Shoman, who represents the Leader of the Opposition on the Bipartisan Commission, has written a letter to Foreign Affairs Minister, Wilfred Elrington. In that letter, Shoman requested to be provided with a copy of the Diplomatic Note which Prime Minister Dean Barrow told the media that the Government had sent to the Guatemalan Government in regards to the incident that occurred on August 16 when a group of Belizeans journeyed to Sarstoon Island. Shoman explained to Love News why she sent the letter.

Lisa Shoman – PUP Senator

I have not been provided with any brief regarding the OAS report I wish to see that report that is customary that should have come to me the same time that it was sent to the CEO and anyone else. I have not seen it and I also have not seen the protest note which again normally I would get a copy of that immediately. If these things are classified information I can respect that but I wish there to be a formal record that I have requested both of those documentations from the government of Belize. If this bipartisan commission is to mean anything then my participation in it must be meaningful and that means that at very least I must be provided with the material. So I am expecting to get a response.”

Hipolito Novelo – Love FM News

Do you feel disrespected?

Lisa Shoman – PUP Senator

“I don’t feel disrespected I just feel as though there is certain things that have to be done and those things have to be done and I’m simply writing to the minister to say to him please provide me with copies of those things because I wish to be a participatory member of the bipartisan commission. I have also written to tell him that I am ready, willing and available to provide him with a firsthand brief of what happened at the Sarstoon Island incident, I am there to provide him for the record with a briefing and I would like to have an exchange of views on this.”

Hipolito Novelo – Love News

Do you believe that your request will be granted?

Lisa Shoman – PUP Senator

“I would want to be believe so and if my request is not granted then I would want to know why so we’ll wait and see what happens.”

Senator Shoman says this is not the first time that Belize has sent a protest note to the Government of Guatemala and believes that the Diplomatic Note should be made public under certain circumstances.

Lisa Shoman – PUP Senator

There have been other protest notes in the past and all of them have to do with incidents. There should for instance have been a protest note, I believe it was sent when the dorey and its passengers were taken to Livingston so that was supposed to be issued then but protest notes or diplomatic notes as they are more properly called are a factor of life between countries. This is how foreign ministries formally correspond with each other via diplomatic note and they are worded very carefully and diplomatically but that doesn’t mean that you have to couch it in language that is non-offensive or as if you are afraid to say what you mean. No you can say what you mean you just have to be very precise about the language you use and let’s be precise that was an illegal incursion by Guatemalan Navy into Belizean waters which is why you see I put it in my letter just like that. It happened again yesterday I am not surprised. Belizeans deserve to know what is at stake and what is happening and we also deserve to know what are the plans ahead that our government has and what it will put in place. I am very clear with what I think should be the move ahead, we have to go back to re-internationalization, we have to build that base in the Sarstoon, we have to put proper personnel in Baranco, we have to deal with the incursions on the river and we have to stay on top of that and never allow them to think that they are giving us permission to do anything. We have to exercise our own sovereignty.”