On August 19, the Government of Belize sent a protest note to the Government of Belize in regards to the confrontation that Belizeans who went on the BTV journey to Sarstoon Island had with Guatemalan armed forces. That note was never made public but details of it was shared today by Lead Opposition Senator, Lisa Shoman.
Senator Lisa Shoman
“I invoke my privilege and immunity in this house in this sacred chamber to state that the nation of Belize must know that the government of Belize did write a protest note to Guatemala but it has not told its citizens that Guatemala answered that protest note. It has never said to Belizeans that the government of Belize’s diplomatic note to Guatemala called the BTV expedition, the visit of a few unarmed Belizean civilians and said that it was out of prudence and restraint and out of an abundance of caution to avoid any possible confrontation or mishap that the government of Belize withheld its own armed forces from being in the vicinity of the activity. Now you know that most Belizeans believe that this protest note really wap what happened and said “how dare you come into our internal waters, unu come eeenya illegally” but you know what that’s not what it says. What is says is that yes Guatemalan vessels rammed Belizean civilians and obstructed free navigation and entered illegally into Belizean waters and that it reaffirms its position as to the Anglo Guatemalan treaty and that as such time as this thing is settled in the ICJ that the government of Belize will stick to the confidence building measures and will not do anything that will cause incidence on the ground and that it will agree to exercise caution and restraint.
Senator Shoman revealed that Guatemala’s Foreign Affairs Ministry responded to the protest and it was not as kind as Belize’s.
Senator Lisa Shoman
“We would have wanted to see the kind of language in this protest note that we received from the protest note back to from Guatemala where they basically said “We heard everything that you say in your note, we reject it totally and completely. We blame you for what happened because you are the ones who allowed this organization that was organized BTV and this Senator Lisa Shoman to go. We blame you for that and more over, noh come tell we nothing about the Sarstoon because” in precise diplomatic language “we do not recognize the existence of borders with Belize.” That was Guatemala’s response. “We do not recognize the existence of borders with Belize.”