We are not forty four days into the New Year and the draft framework to manage the Sarstoon is yet to be drafted as was agreed upon in a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey in May 2016. The People’s United Party had appointed former Foreign Minister, Eamon Courtenay to represent them in these meetings and with that we asked Briceno for an update.
“We have not gotten any briefing, no official briefing from the government, we have not been called for any meeting, we are waiting as we’ve said we are prepared to work with the government when it comes to Belize Guatemala, this is about the sovereignty of our country and that we should never play partisan politics with that matter but we have been advising the government that there a number of things that can be done. We need to be able to set up a national team that can come up with a strategy as to how we are going to face Guatemala. So far Guatemala has been outmaneuvering Belize because of the way they have been maneuvering they have complete control of the Sarstoon River, they continue to come into our reserves, they are panning our gold, they are poisoning our water, they are going with our lumber and wildlife, they are raiding our Mayan temples and we are doing nothing because there is no plan of action. We need to go and internationalize what is happening on the ground between us and Guatemala. These are just some issues that we have been advising the government but they refuse to listen and heed to good advice.”
The meeting was held in the presence of Magdalena Talamas, representative of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States in which it was agreed that the design and development of a mechanism for cooperation in the Sarstoon River should be drafted with the participation of relevant institutions of both Parties and be coordinated by both Foreign Ministries with the participation of the Organization of American States.