Mayor of Orange Walk, Kevin Bernard issued a release on behalf of the Orange Walk Town Council saluting the Belizeans who journeyed to the Sarstoon River on Sunday to take a stand and send a message. Mayor Bernard says quote “As a Belizean, and as a patriot, I am proud and humbled by the tremendous courage shown by the Territorial Volunteers and all who joined the expedition. Against all odds, and faced with Guatemala’s military stationed at the mouth of the Sarstoon, our people stood their ground. I must single out Orange Walk’s own Orlando de la Fuente who distinguished himself by leading the charge to Sarstoon Island even when ordered to leave and threatened with detention and arrest.” End of quote. Mayor Bernard calls on the government to heed the message sent by the Territorial Volunteers and to act with all dispatch to actively maintain our sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Belize People’s Front also congratulated the participants of Sunday’s expedition. It takes issue with the release from the national Security Council. It says the blatant disregard for Belize’s territorial integrity was in full display by the incursion of the Guatemalan naval and private vessels, in our territorial waters, even though there was an observer team from the much touted OAS. The subsequent release by their press, who were present, claims that the entire Sarstoon River is Guatemalan territorial waters, and that the group of Belizeans were illegally entering Guatemala. This is in direct contravention to the April 30 1859 treaty, which sets out the boundaries with our neighbour in the West. It goes on to say although Belizeans recognizes Sarstoon Island as sovereign, the government refuses to provide protection to civilians who visit this undisputed area of Belize. The lack of asserting our sovereignty over this Island is encouraging the Guatemalans to be more aggressive and assertive in claiming what is rightfully for Belize. The Belize People’s Front calls on Nestor Mendez, Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, to encourage Guatemala to respect our sovereignty and to cease and desist from any further incursion into Belize’s territorial waters. This incursion was documented by the OAS observer team and those in attendance.