This is not the first time that Guatemalan Armed forces have illegally entered into Belizean territory. Several instances have been recorded especially in the Sarstoon River where Guatemalan Armed Forces have been recorded intercepting civilians in Belizean waters. Defence Minister John Saldivar says that the Sarstoon Protocol is still in the works.
JOHN SALDIVAR, CABINET MINISTER
“As we speak there are efforts underway by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to hammer out a protocol for operating within the Sarstoon River. We need to appreciate though that it is a shared resource. The river is shared between Belize and Guatemala and so such a protocol is very important and I don’t believe that we can basically dictate to Guatemala how they traverse that river unless of course they interfere or intervene in our activities in the river and that is the reason we are hammering out a protocol as to how we will act on that river. Traversing a river does not always enable you to stay on your half off the river because of the depth of water and other obstacles you may encounter in the river and that is why it is important for the protocol to be hammered out because it will address all those situations. I have been up that river several times and I know for a fact in traversing that river many times we are on the other half if you want to call it of the river that belongs to Guatemala simply because you cannot navigate all the way on your side.”
Recently a youth basketball team from Belize City was intercepted by Guatemalan Armed Forces as they along with members of the Belize Territorial Volunteers attempted to circle Sarstoon Island.