Opposition Calls for Action After Guatemalan Forces Remove Belizean Flags
The Leader of the Opposition, Moses Shyne Barrow, has issued an official statement this morning regarding aggression shown at the Sarstoon by the Guatemalan Armed Forces. The Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) launched a trip to the Sarstoon this past weekend with a plan to plant Belize flags on the Sarstoon Island. As we have noted, it is a symbolic gesture as the flags cannot remain there or be permanently planted. Love News understands that, although symbolic, the Guatemalan Armed Forces (GAF) removed the flags in the presence of the territorial volunteers. The United Democratic Party (UDP) has dubbed this incident as a breach of Belize’s territorial integrity, drawing an analogy with the Battle of St George’s Caye. In its release, the opposition has called on Prime Minister Briceno and Minister of Foreign Affairs Courtenay to summons the Guatemalan Ambassador to Belize at once to protest this breach of our borders. Additionally, the UDP is demanding that an urgent diplomatic note be sent, and an engagement made with the Guatemalan President, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of National Defense to underscore the need for the Guatemalan Armed Forces to adhere to international law, confidence building measures agreed protocols. In conclusion, the opposition has laid blame at the feet of the government, saying, quote, “The Briceno Administration must accept its share of blame for this latest violation by the GAF due to its neglect and abandonment of the Sarstoon forward operating base and constant patrols of that area of our territory. The House of Representatives approved $1 million to construct a new Sarstoon FOB a few months ago some of that allocation should have been used to immediately construct a makeshift dwelling for our military to remain stationed at Sarstoon to ensure our Omni presence in that area of Belizean territory. Again we call on the Guatemalan Government, the OAS and Group of Friends to ensure the Guatemalan Armed Forces refrain from violating Belizean Territorial Integrity.” End of quote.