The longstanding border dispute between Belize and Guatemala is currently before the International Court of Justice. Belize’s counter-memorial was submitted to the Hague-based court last week and Guatemala is to respond by December 2022. But since 2015, as a means to keep the peace while the case is pursued, a Sarstoon protocol was in the making. However, our Central American neighbor has often not abided by the mechanism – or at least the spirit of it. A number of times over the years, there have been confrontations involving the Guatemalan Armed Forces. Today, Love News asked Minister of Border Security, Florencio Marin Jr. about how the Ministry is handling the situation.
Florencio Marin Jr., Minister of Border Security: “We play an integral role because the Belize Defence Force the main thing is to maintain the integrity of the nation and all its borders. We also have the coast guard that deals with the maritime issues. So, we do play an integral role in maintaining the integrity of the country. The ministry’s work is something that we do try to keep as confidential as necessary. No? National security is not something that we, you play politics with. At least I will not do it in my time.”
Also speaking on this particular issue is the Executive Director for Friends for Conservation and Development, Raphael Manzanero. He says that more enforcement is needed to curb drug trafficking in the Sarstoon area.
Rafael Manzaner, Executive Director, FCD: “Well I can only say that from our experience in the Chiquibul, a lot of it is really having a presence, is having an institutional presence. Many of these areas are really difficult, really, to reach to, but that’s the only way. You know, if there are movements of poachers, hunters, loggers, the idea really should be to enforce the law and the law has to be basically enforced through the presence and being able to do the upholding of those regulations and so in on word, it’s more patrols and it’s really human presence.”