In continuation of the story we aired yesterday regarding the incident between Roger Plett, his workers and suspected Guatemalan men, we join Renee Trujillo for part two of the situation.
RENEE TRUJILLO REPORTING
“Yesterday we told you of the Belizean/Canadian Roger Plett who was taken by a group of Guatemalans whilst he was working on his family’s farm in Green Hills just on the outskirts of Spanish Lookout near Belize’s western border with Guatemala. It was a scary ordeal that Plett survived on Thursday, May 12 and an incident that the local authorities have been extremely silent on considering the gravity of the current situation between Belize and Guatemala. After leaving the offices of Plett’s Builders, the media personnel was taken on an expedition into the Green Hills up to where the border markers are; a trip that the investigators are yet to make since they responded to this situation. It was a six mile journey outside Spanish Lookout, with only a portion accessible to our vehicles. In this area, the Plett family has a portion of farmlands and the remaining terrain is where they raise their cattle. While we told you of Roger Plett being taken, we didn’t tell you of the bulldozer and its driver, Rudy Friesen who were taken over to the Guatemalan side and held hostage there to do work in their fields. Here is how Manuel Ayala explained it.”
“When I walked closer to the bulldozer which was about 25 feet away I saw five soldiers rushing in toward the bulldozer and there was a guy dressed in civilian clothing. He has on a white shirt and the five soldiers they came and stopped the bulldozer from working. Two of them jumped on top of it by the cab along with the guy in civilian clothing but I can tell you I didn’t hear what they told him but I saw the movements. When I saw the driver of the bulldozer he raised back the blade of the bulldozer and swing around and went into Guatemala. Two of the soldiers went on the bulldozer along with the civilian guy while the other three were, they ran behind the bulldozer into Guatemala. So we knew something was wrong and I walked out. I tried to get in touch with Roger but I couldn’t so I came out and we started working on what was happening. I spoke to my boss and the other guys that were with him and we were worried about it. Like we said a few hours after that we managed to make a call and Roger answered and he said that he was coming so we waited and then we saw the tractor coming in. So after that we noticed that they had the bulldozer over there.”
The driver and the bulldozer were released later that day after Ayala and Plett refused to refuel the bulldozer for them to continue their work on the Guatemalan side. The ordeal, however, was not over as the following day, the watchman; Rogelio was taken from the farm. This is when the police got involved and went to the area although they, reportedly, did not go to the actual location where the incident took place.
“The following day we were near the Garage working when my boss called me and told me that they had our coworker. As I told you before I’m the guy in charge of the area I should get informed of things that are happening. I called Rogelio and I asked him and he told me that the military had him. I asked him how many of them and he said fourteen. At that moment Roger Plett told me that we should take the drone and fly over there and see where the soldiers were because according to Rogelio the soldiers were near the tractor that he had left the evening before. We went toward the Western gate of Green Hills and passed a mile westward from the gate. We didn’t enter the gate at that moment and from there Roger took his drone, flew it toward the farm which was about two and a half miles westward. While flying around there, we flew around the tractor and there were no people there so the battery on the drone was running down so he decided to fly it back. After flying it back we decided to go closer in a different location so we got everything ready came by the gate and went northward and then westward. I got to the point where there was a high hill and from there he flew the drone once more. He flew the drone toward that area to search for someone but we didn’t see anything so he flew more near to where the fire was and circled around but then in certain areas the screen stalled and we just couldn’t see anything happening so he flew it higher and then we started noticing things. After that I told Roger to fly it near the border line to see. He flew it near there and we didn’t’ see any fire. Shortly after that I received a call from Rogelio where he told me that they wanted to talk to me. I answered the phone and he said be generous and bring equipment here to help us out the fire.”
In the end, no one was hurt in the incident but clearly several infractions were committed by the men suspected to be Guatemalans. As we mentioned, the media was at the area and did find that several areas had been burnt on both sides of the border. While the police are not speaking on the issue, Ayala says that the investigators had threatened to charge him with mischievous act due to some text messages in his phone with Rogelio, the watchman whilst he was detained by the Guatemalans. Love News is still awaiting a response from the San Ignacio Police or the ministries of National Security and Foreign Affairs. Reporting for Love News, I am Renee Trujillo.