Tensions between members of Belize’s security services, who patrol our border with Guatemala and residents living along the adjacency zone have been calm over the past two years. According to Minister of State in the Ministry of National Defence and Border Security, Oscar Mira, the occurrences of illegal poaching and cattle ranching by Guatemalans have not been as frequent in recent times. Today, Minister Mira told the media that the BDF’s patrolling efforts along with efforts from other organizations working in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve have helped to reduce tensions in the area.
Oscar Mira, Minister of State, Ministry of National Defence and Border Security: “Since that incident, we have not had any major incidents in that area. Perhaps one of the reasons is that the pandemic made the tourism in that area very slow. But, we are now picking up, and we are now looking forward to very active tourism in the area. So, we want to make sure that those activities and the illegal activities that happened before do not happen again. We have, as I said before, patrols along the border which is separate from the one that we’re doing from D’Silva for tourism. The Belize Defence Force doesn’t work by itself, so we do have other agencies that are working together with us. We have, in that area, the archeology department; we have the forest department. We also have NGOs that work in that area, and they work with the communities on the other side of the border as well. So, it’s an effort that is not just being led by the Belize Defence Force. We do provide the security, and as you rightly said, we do have, strategically placed along the border, many of those conservation posts that patrol and ensure that we are safe.”