The Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) is a group that predominantly promotes visits to the national border markers with Guatemala and Mexico. However, the volunteers encounter issues on a regular basis with one particular area of difficulty, the Sarstoon. One of the leaders of the BTV, Wil Maheia explained how they were blocked from the river by Guatemalan gunboats.
Wil Maheia – Representative, Belize Territorial Volunteer: “Yes as you guys know that we just got back from the Sarstoon area, not the Sarstoon island or not even the Sarstoon River because this morning as we approached the river there were three Guatemalan gunboats: one on the outskirts which was the biggest gunboat and the two smaller ones blocking the channel where you enter the river so we decided to call off our trip. There was no BDF or Coast Guard in sight, we didn’t want to go there just by ourselves without the BDF or Coast Guard around so I can tell you right now that the mouth of the Sarstoon River is completely blocked for Belizeans so Belizeans just can’t enter into the mouth of the Sarstoon right now.”
When these issues occur, it prompts the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to send a diplomatic note to the OAS and its Guatemalan counterparts as an official protest.