Prime Minister reiterates position on activities in Sarstoon

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Updated: September 3, 2015

On Tuesday, Wil Maheia of the Belize Territorial Volunteers sent out an email in which he says he observed a Guatemalan gun boat at the mouth of the Sarstoon, presumably in Guatemalan waters. It was supposed to the day when the BDF would change over shifts at Cadenas but according to Maheia, he saw no BDF. Maheia has previously stated that he has seen Guatemalan boats follow the BDF boats up the Sarstoon River. Some has described is as a chase, others as a joint patrol while the Prime Minister described it as shadowing. Today, Prime Minister Dean Barrow who chairs the National Security Council spoke on the matter.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“At all those NSC meetings we get reports on internal security and external security so that in terms of encroachments for example new settlements that illegally might have sprung up on Belizean territory from Guatemalan presence all that is documented. Throughout my tenure there have from time to time been reports of the Guatemalans shadowing the BDF when they are going up the Sarstoon sometimes it goes beyond shadowing. While as long as the Guatemalans in doing the shadowing stick to their side of the river it may be an irritant but it certainly is not anything that we fundamentally have to worry about. When as has happened on occasion it goes beyond shadowing it merely underlines the volatility of the situation in which they claim the entirety of the Sarstoon and we say absolutely not but it also underlines the fact that notwithstanding the incidents the BDF continue to traffic the Sarstoon, or at least our side of the Sarstoon on a regular basis sometimes as often as once a week, perhaps there are times when they slip to every fortnight and that constitutes an assertion and maintenance of our sovereignty.”