Yesterday Prime Minister Dean Barrow said he would be meeting with Orlando de la Fuente of the Northern Territorial Volunteers. A meeting took place today but it was Orlando’s brothers, Giovanni and Phillip de la Fuente who met with Prime Minister Dean Barrow at his office on Coney Drive in Belize City. This meeting comes four days after the Belize Territorial Volunteers journeyed to Sarstoon Island to make the statement that the island belongs to Belize. The meeting comes four days after Guatemalan Armed forces attempted to prevent Belizeans from going near Sarstoon Island. It comes four days after Guatemalan armed military officials incurred into Belizean waters along with Guatemala media personnel. The meeting comes one day after, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, called a press conference where he officially shared that a diplomatic protest note had been sent to the Guatemalan Government. However, the meeting came weeks after it was requested by the De la Fuente brothers. The meeting lasted just about an hour and a half and ended just before midday.
Giovanni de la Fuente – NTV
“So we were not here to discuss or comment on the BTV or any other group. Basically what occurred was and what transpired is that we came here, we met with the Prime Minister and we briefed him on the Belizean people about their border markers. More specifically the Western Border markers between Guatemala and Belize and so the Prime Minister has been enlightened and briefed about the goals and objectives of the NTV and we discussed the area of education can we both agreed that more needs to be done in the country of Belize to educate especially the primary school, high school and all students in Belize. More needs to be done by the education department to educate the Belizean people about the history of Belize and the border markers of Belize so that Belizeans can become more knowledgeable and more patriotic so we both agreed that more needs to be done and our group has been educating Belizeans over the past three years taking Belizean to their border markers and the Prime Minister has indicated that he recognizes the need and the ministry of education will be encouraged to do more in educating Belize about their history and border marker.”
Now you may have noticed that Wil Maheia of the Belize Territorial Volunteers, the man who started the expeditions to different border points was not present at the meeting. In fact, he was not invited. Why? That is the question Maheia answered this morning during a press conference by the VIP.
Wil Maheia – BTV
“The BTV and the NTV has always sent letters to the Prime Minister, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to the Ministry of National Security. I mean it just so happened that an incident had to happen at the Sarstoon River before they got a response so I believe that in the future whenever you want a response to your letter you need an incident to take place and then you will get a response to your letter. Like I have said, these guys have sent countless letters to these three different ministries and Giovanni’s letter was sent almost three months ago. The purpose of his letter was to always try and seek and convince and he could not convince the Foreign Minister or the Ministry of National Security to provide some kind of protection because whenever we go to the border; Audrey had a seven year old daughter that was standing in the water there while the boat was being bumped by the Guatemalan vessel. Like the Guatemalans are so bold these days that they take us so for granted that they come into our territory and bump our boats so what Giovanni is trying to do is to seek protection for the volunteers going to the border.
Giovanni de la Fuente
“The NTV and the BTV are two separate entities. We have a good working relation with each other and we intend to build on that relation. Tuesday I believe that it was officially granted. It was a request some time ago from the NTV.”
“What do you think of the timing of the granting of this request though?
Giovanni de la Fuente
“That is a lot of speculation about the timing and I do believe that the Government found it necessary and beneficial to speak to a group of Belizeans. We’re glad that they did.
‘I believe whether the Prime Minister changed his mind and decided to give some protection to give us some protection or not we will be going to border. This is our country all 8867 square miles of it and we’re not going to allow Guatemala to occupy any part of our country.
De la Fuente says that Prime Minister Barrow has promised to consult the National Security Council about assisting the BTV and the NTV.
Giovanni de la Fuente – NTV
The Prime Minister has committed himself that at the next meeting of The National Security Council which should be occurring in September he will be presenting to the members and ask that as of that point and in the future they should be finding and looking at different ways of how they can assist the NTV and BTV as they visit two different border markers and these two markers that the Prime Minister is speaking about is the Tres Banderas Border Marker and the Garbutt Falls Border Marker. The Prime Minister has stated that at the next meeting of the National Security Council he will be bringing it up to them and asking for a vote and if it is a positive vote the details will be worked out and at that point and in the future whenever there is another field trip planned for these areas and if this group requests their assistance which we always do they would be more active than they have been in the past.