British Commissioner Says Guatemalans Need to Be Educated that Belize Is Not Their Land

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Updated: July 27, 2016

Today, the British High Commissioner was doing business at the Belize Central Prison; we’ll tell you what kind of business later in our news …. But first, we bring you an interview with Hughes where he spoke of collaboration being had between the commission and the Friends for Conservation and Development FCD as it relates to the fight against incursions and the depletion of the resources in the area.

PETER HUGHES

“We’ve done a lot of work with FCD both in terms of the environment itself and but also for that they do across the border with the Guatemalan communities in terms of educating them, assisting them to have alternative livelihoods so that they stop coming over the border and destroy the forest. We’ve done a lot of work in that area.”

The efforts of the British High Commission many times go unsung and unreported and it is with great interest that we asked Commissioner Hughes about what spurred the efforts with the Friends for Conservation and Development.

PETER HUGHES

“My take on that is that the people on the other side of the border have nothing, the government gives them no support, the ground is not fertile so it’s difficult for them to grow crops. The look across to what their government tell them is their land and they see it fertile and full of food and prospect and hope for them so obviously they are going to come across. What we have to do is educate them that first it is not their country, secondly they cannot destroy the environment and thirdly there are alternatives that they can do in their own country.”

RENEE TRUJILLO

“So I take it that is what basically spurred your contribution to that aspect of it.”

PETER HUGHES

“Yes rather than waiting for the politicians to decide how we are going to carry this whole issue forward and how we are going to come to a lasting resolution to the border dispute we cannot just wait, we’ve also have to try to stop the degradation of the forest that is taking place so that is what we are trying to do our best to help with.”

Commissioner Hughes took office at the British High Commission in Belmopan in September 2013.