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PM says Statutory Instrument is important due to frequent incursions

From the video you just saw, we can tell you that the incident occurred last week just before the meetings in Washington. With encounters like these, Prime Minister Barrow says this is the reason why the SI is important. He also stated that he had spoken to the Secretary General of the OAS to address the issue.



I’ve seen the report of the maneuvers. If true to my mind that should make clearer why I felt that the SI was necessary. It’s one thing when our military encounters the Guatemalan military in the sort of climate that prevails especially when they are in fact doing these maneuvers and obviously giving the impression that they are spurring for a fight it’s quite another when civilians are involved. It is difficult enough for the military in Belize to take care of itself without having to worry about civilians so that certainly in my mind helps to make the case for the regulation that we passed. With respect to the encounter that you speak about, an encounter did take place on the very day that the meeting was taking place in Washington hosted by the OAS Secretary General in which the American Ambassador also joined; because of that encounter I called Secretary General Almagro before the meeting to make the point. Listen this is absolutely bad faith, this thing has got to be solved and it was on that sort of a basis that we came out of that meeting with what I certainly understood to be a commitment on the part of the Guatemalans to come to the table to negotiate an agreed protocol over the Sarstoon.”

After the meeting, he learnt that the BDF were allowed to traverse the Sarstoon freely. Prime Minister Barrow says that they will do what they need to do by next week if Guatemala does not comply with negotiations.



By the end of that day there had been that sort of progress and I’m saying you’ve seen the Secretary General’s statement and it is quite clear that the Guatemalans have agreed to discussion. Now this is why I say there is no way I will in fact rescind the regulations this week but if by next week the Guatemalans don’t actually act on what I take to be the commitment for us to sit down and talk it is as I said when we first passed the regulations then all bets are off. Look given our situation diplomacy is clearly the best way to go hands down but there is a point beyond which you can take no more and I don’t want to be premature all I will say is that time is running out and unless we get now a hard indication of a willingness on the part of the Guatemalans to act in accordance with what I took to be the commitment given to the OAS we are going to rescind the regulation and then we’ll have to do what we have to do.”