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Leader of the Opposition Briefed by BDF Commander

Today the Leader of the Opposition took a proactive approach regarding the Belize/Guatemala issue and attended a meeting which he had requested with the BDF Commander David Jones with the objective to be briefed on the current situation and past occurrences involving the Guatemalan Armed Forces.  The meeting which also had the presence of former Foreign Affairs Minister, Eamon Courtenay and Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of National Security, Retired Colonel George Lovell, lasted just under two hours at Price Barracks in Ladyville Village, Belize District this afternoon.  While Briceno would not comment on the matters discussed as he describes them as being sensitive information, he did provide us with a comment, saying, quote, “we got a comprehensive briefing from CEO Lovell and Commander Jones and it provided us with an opportunity to personally thank the BDF for their sterling work in protecting the sovereignty of Belize.”  End of quote.  Briceno has commented publicly in recent interviews that he is prepared to work and cooperate with the Government in tackling this national issue that threatens the sovereignty of all Belizeans and its territory.  As for the third party, the Vision Inspired by the People, VIP, they sent out a release today condemning the acts of the Guatemalan Armed Forces.  Their release states, quote, “It is abundantly clear that the Guatemalan Government is pursuing a path of military aggression and intimidation against Belize.  Over the past few months, Guatemalan’s military has denied Belizean civilians and soldiers access to Belizean territory in and around the Sarstoon River.  On one occasion innocent Belizeans were also detained and released the following day without being charged.  Guatemala’s military aggression toward Belize is a clear violation of Guatemala’s obligations as a member of the United Nations.” End of quote. The VIP is calling on government to adopt a more proactive approach in dealing with Guatemala.  The VIP urges government to internationally prosecute Guatemala’s aggression because such action endangers civilian lives and threatens the peace and security in our region.  The VIP goes on to say it explicitly calls on the Prime Minister of Belize to refrain from blaming patriotic Belizeans, in particular the Territorial Volunteers, for Guatemala’s naked aggression.  The VIP calls on the Belize Government to craft in detail and make public the essence of a strategy for containment and management of Guatemalan’s neo-colonial claim.  The VIP says it is confident that the containment and management of Guatemala’s neo-colonial claim can be executed without risking Belizean Territory at the ICJ.”  End of quote.