Sarstoon Island was thrust into the headlines after it was disclosed that there were plans to build a forward operating base on the island. The Guatemalans objected to the construction. Since then Belizean authorities have insisted that the base will be constructed. Today we asked Commander David Jones for an update.
Brigadier General David Jones
““I have expressed to the media before that there is difficulty because of the terrain on the Belize side of the river. The areas is very swampy. As mentioned before the Sarstoon Island itself it’s not practical to have a base there even though it is very strategic to say that the island is ours but the area is very swampy. Even on the northern side. We have actually located two areas on the Northern Side of the Sarstoon River that may be able to have a building constructed there that can house the soldiers properly. You can go and put a temporary base there but you’d put the soldier’s lives at peril. It’s better if you do something and do it right, have it constructed properly so it’s not the matter of jumping in there and constructing a building because you have to take into consideration the soldiers or the coast guard men that will be able to work there. Because while you are sleeping in your beds, they will be there killing mosquitos, being at the elements, getting dengue because there is no water available for them there. You need to take a lot of things into consideration even in battle. Even though you have soldiers what is more important than your tactics and the operations that you plan is logistics and having your soldiers out there takes logistics, it’s going to be expensive you need to think it through before you act so you need to be more deliberate in your though process. So it doesn’t make sense to rush into getting something constructed. A contractor was contracted to build that base. Unfortunately after a couple of years he came to the conclusion that it cannot be done because of the terrain so it is best to take it out to tender which ever engineer could come up with the best solution to get the base done I am sure our government is going to support to have that base built. If it can be done as quickly as possible we would welcome it because it is a strategic location for the Belize Defense Force and for the Coast Guard and we want to work there as soon as possible providing the proper infrastructure is there for our soldiers.”