The Sarstoon River is the primary area where friction between Belize and Guatemala is evident; but there is another part of the district that is a growing concern. The Chief Executive Officers for the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, National Security along with the Cabinet Secretary met earlier in the week to discuss various national security issues including the Jalacte crossing between Guatemala and Belize. The substantive Immigration Minister, Godwin Hulse spoke to Love News on this matter and has noted that tighter measures are needed in the area.
Honorable Godwin Hulse: “In particular the issue down in a Jalacte back and forth across that border because there really needs to be some type of controls there. As you know immigration also this year was involved, we have an immigration post, there is a customs post, there is BAHA post but it needs to be a little more tightened up because people are still pulling across. That road is beautiful all the way to the border.”
Jose Sanchez: “Is the issue contraband or is it more about free movement.?”
Honorable Godwin Hulse: “It’s both and tomorrow we are having another meeting and this is with the Commanders, this is going to be BDF, Commander of the Police, Immigration Director too, those are the functional people to get a clear policy as to what we are going to do down there in the South. As we said people have been going and coming, going and coming and they do so it’s almost free movement and everybody knows that happens and they trade and they go and they come and they go and they go and they come so that has to be tightened up.”
Jose Sanchez: “So there is not necessarily in the Chiquibul where your agricultural development thats infringing upon our resources?
Honorable Godwin Hulse: “No no we don’t know about that yet, not in that area.”
Jose Sanchez: “ Do we know how many people, have any service have been done to estimate how many people actually do traverse through the area?
Honorable Godwin Hulse: “Not quite we don’t know but buses are running on a daily basis. If you go down the you see buses are running on a daily basis. You see people coming in and going back,some may be workers and that would be workers without permits so that would be what we try to to sort for an reorganize that area.”
Jalacte does not have the heightened state of awareness and alertness as is regularly felt at the Sarstoon and there is currently no report of intimidation by Guatemalan Armed Forces.