By Benjamin Flowers
The People’s United Party this week condemned the recent incursion of the Guatemalan military into Belizean territory and called on the government of Belize to take a strong stance against it.
Eamon Courtenay, member of the PUP ‘s newly appointed Guatemala Advisory Committee, explained that when the Guatemalan navy stopped Wil Maheia and the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) from visiting Sarstoon Island on February 27, they were clearly violating Belize’s sovereignty.
Courtenay went on to say that Guatemalan Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales, followed up the incursion by telling the media in his country that the entire Sarstoon is Guatemalan territory.
“That is false and provocative,” the PUP said. “The People’s United Party categorically rejects the specious claim by Foreign Minister Morales, and strongly condemns the provocative and illegal act by the Guatemalan Navy.”
The PUP suggested a list of actions that GOB should take in dealing with the matter, including: sending a strongly worded diplomatic note to Guatemala condemning the incursion, recalling Belize’s ambassador to that countryand calling an urgent meeting with the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Guatemalan government.
PUP leader John Briceño, in a statement released on Monday, said that his party is ready to take a leading role in a national response to the Guatemalan territorial dispute.
“Guatemala has embarked ona dangerous and confrontational course; we reject it. Now, more than ever, we need a bipartisan approach to what is clearly a threat to Belizean sovereignty,” Briceño said.
The government, prior to the Sarstoon Island excursion had issued an advisory to the BTV, urging them not to go to Sarstoon Island because it might agitate the Guatemalan military. The BTV pressed on with the excursion to mark the one year anniversary of over 40 Belizeans being taken from Belize and imprisoned in Guatemala.