There is much concern looming as reports have been circulating regarding new regulations published by Guatemalan authorities surrounding fishing zones in the Sarstoon. No comment or report has been forthcoming from the Government of Belize but Love News has gotten a copy of the document which indicates that fishers from Guatemala can conduct small scale fishing up to the coast of Punta Gorda Town. When we spoke with Brigadier General, David Jones, he too was oblivious to the document.
“No I am sorry, I have not heard about that. First time I am hearing that. That doesn’t sound right. That will not go down well. I am speechless about that. I’ve just heard about that but that is not right and I will have to speak to our Ministry of Defence if they’ve heard about it as to what steps we are going to take to do something about it. That will be troubling if it is true but assuming it is true. That will not go down well internationally if that is a stance they have taken. We do have a diplomatic problem with them and if that is so true, our Foreign Affairs, I suspect will have to deal with it immediately. That needs to transcend to the Ministry of Defence as to what we are going to do about it because it is a National Security Issue. This is our country and they shouldn’t be that close in our territorial waters.”
Commander Jones stressed that if these regulations are indeed factual then it will create serious issues.
“If you had listened to the Guatemalan president speech after he took office he did mention to the people of Guatemala that they’re interested in taking back Belize. It would not be surprising for them to try to implement measures but it’s going to be shocking if he does. It’s not logical for you to do something like that with your neighbor . I am not presented with those information if they are facts so I don’t want to comment on them if they are not factual. If I am presented with the information then I will be able to comment further on it but I am not aware of it at this time.”
The Belize Territorial Volunteers has issued a release on the matter calling on the Prime Minister of Belize to explain and for the Leader of the Opposition to break his silence and come forth to condemn this development. According to the BTV, the explanations given by government on the development on the Belize/Guatemala have been lame and unacceptable.