Five Belizeans, including a Punta Gorda Town Councillor, were detained in Guatemala on Saturday. Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lawrence Sylvestre provided an update on Saturday night.
LAWRENCE SYLVESTRE 1
“Since receiving the reports of the detention of a group of five Belizeans, officials have been in contact with their Guatemalan counterparts to ascertain the circumstances and facts surrounding this detention. What we have been able to find out is that a group of five Belizeans, I don’t have all the names but the names I have, include Ray Martinez, Ashton McKenzie, Mitchell Romero and two other individuals were in the Jalacte/Santa Cruz vicinity. They were detained by Guatemalan police, the Guatemalans are telling us, for disorderly conduct and we have been informed that they didn’t have any travel documents. My colleagues at the Embassy in Guatemala City have tonight been in touch with senior Guatemalan officials and are in direct contact with the police at San Luis in the Peten area where the Belizeans have been detained. It appears that they will be fined and will be released. We will continue to work of course with the Guatemalan authorities for their prompt and safe and early return to Belize. It doesn’t appear to have been anything like an abduction; apparently they were in Guatemala and the information we have received is that they have been charged, detained, taken to San Luis Peten where our officials are in touch with the police officials where they are being held. I will await further details on the process and to what exactly are the charges and what procedures will be in place before their release but I just want to ensure everyone we have been responding to the situation and we are doing all we can to ensure that they are well, treated humanely and they are returned to Belize safely.”
Councillor Ashton McKenzie shared his version of the events. He said contrary to the reports they were not engaged in any wrongdoing.
The other men involved in the incident were Ray Martinez, Michel Romero, Rafael Cus, and Rutilio Cal.