Present at the press conference was Belize Progressive Party member, Wil Maheia. He is also the leader of the Belize Territorial Volunteers and is known to be a grassroots activist focusing on the Belize Guatemala dispute. Maheia has increased awareness regarding Sarstoon Island and the Guatemalan Armed Forces relentless insistence that the river and the island form part of Guatemala’s territory. Maheia is now turning his focus on lands near the border. Belizeans living near the border have been expressing concerns over Guatemalans clearing large areas of land. Maheia says that the Government must react to the issue as soon as possible.
Wil Meheia, BPP Member: We have heard the cries of our poor Mayan brothers and sisters about the need to have BDF in their Villages. The job of the Government of Belize is to take care of its citizens and as we speak Guatemalans are encroaching not only in the Village of Otto Shaw but also in the Village of Dolores, Poite, San Vicente and these Villagers are crying out for help so what I would to say today is to call upon the Government of Belize to really give urgent attention to the Villages down south. These people are getting encroached upon as we speak, they are clearing lands and this no ordinary Maya man from cross the border, these are big rich guys from Guatemala City moving into our territory. What they do is they hire the Maya guys to try and clear the land. Once the land is civilized then the big ranchers from Guatemala move in and occupy the land which is inside Belize’s territory. It has been several years now since the Prime Minster in one of his Independence Day Speech promised to establish up to twelve out post along the border line. So far none has been established in the Colombia Forest Reserve which is in urgent need and every so often they try to shut the crowd up and say oh well there has been money allocated for the Colombia. There has been no management presence in the Colombia Forest Reserve which is really and truly a very important piece of our territory; in fact all our territory of Belize is very important but especially this area where Guatemalans continue to encroach into the Colombia and extract our natural resources. You hear about The Chiquibul, The Chiquibul, The Chiquibul but Belizeans need to know the Colombian Forest Reserve is being raped as we speak.
We will have more of the BPP’s press conference in Tuesday’s newscast.