By Benjamin Flowers
Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA), this week, launched a campaign to pressure the Government of Belize into building a forward operating base on the island in the Sarstoon River known as Sarstoon Island.
COLA, at a press conference at the Radisson Fort George Hotel on Thursday, refuted the reasons given by the Belize Defense Force (BDF)for why a base cannot be built in the area.
Geovanni Brackett, COLA President, said that the reasons that BDF Commander Brigadier General David Jones gave were unacceptable, and it would constitute justifiable suspicion if GOB does not proceed immediately with construction.
“There are tourism projects that have tried to relocate our barrier reef just to please tourists! We are not asking for a five-star resort here”, Bracket said. “As for disease… there are more people in Belize City with Dengue Fever than there are in PG.”
He also presented a list of demands COLA is making of GOB. Among those demands COLA is calling for: stripping the Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington of his portfolio; full disclosure of the report made by the Organization of American States (OAS) on the August 16 excursion to the Sarstoon Island, and a revisit to all bilateral agreements Belize has with Guatemala.
Brackett said that COLA would be increasing its advocacy efforts to ensure that Belize’s sovereignty is safeguarded.
On August 19, Prime Minister Dean Barrow held a press conference to discuss the implications of the Belize Territorial Volunteers’ trip to Sarstoon island.
At the conference, Brigadier General Jones, gave several reasons why the island was unfit as a forward operating base.
Elrington, weeks prior had said that GOB fully intends to build the base, but would do it at its convenience.