Wil Maheia Voices Concern over Absence of Belizean Soldiers on Sarstoon
Another issue that Wil Maheia brought up was the noted absence at the Forward Operating Base at the Sarstoon. He says that without the Belizean soldiers in the area, Guatemalan military is being empowered in the area.
Wil Maheia, Belize Territorial Volunteers: “The base is completely closed down. A few months ago, I believe that was back in September/October last year when they removed the Belize Defence Force from the base and moved them to Barranco. They at least came in the day time and had a military presence there but we have been there recently in the past couple of months and there is no BDF military presence at the base, the base is completely abandoned. In the past even though the soldiers were living in Barranco in the day time they would at least have a presence at the base that they say they cannot live and remember now I had taken down a contractor Mr.Lizarraga from Cayo to check the base out and he confirmed that the base is livable so he didn’t see why they have to abandon the base. Sure there has been some erosion taking place but the base is still livable so reasons for abandoning the base we don’t buy the fact that because of the erosion they have to abandon the place. They have abandoned it like almost over six months now and the base is still standing so clearly the base is livable.”
Reporter: So then how would explain then the patrol that was intercepted this morning ? Or is a patrol only done occasionally ?
Wil Maheia, Belize Territorial Volunteers: “Well I believe that patrol might be occasionally because every week they have to go to Cadenas to do a change over so that patrol that was intercepted this morning I believe is a result of our presence on the Sarstoon on Saturday and the Guatemalans are definitely stepping up their presence on the Sarstoon and asserting full claim to the river.”