Belize Territorial Volunteers protest Guatemalan presence

brThe Belize Territorial Volunteers have written a formal complaint to the Prime Minister about Guatemalan armed forces entering Belizean Territory.

The letter, sent on Monday, detailed their encounter with seven armed Guatemalan military personnel on the Sarstoon River on September 8.

The BTV emphasized to the PM that the issue was one of national importance.

A copy of the letter was also sent to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Adjacency Zone Office of the Organization of American States in Cayo.

Will Maheia, president of the BTV, explained Monday that Guatemalan incursions are common-place on the south; however, the ease with which the Guatemalan military forces enter into Belizean territory is cause for concern.

“And not a single word from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” Maheia said, explaining his decision to voice his complaint to the Prime Minister.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Wilfred Elrington, has warned the BTV on several occasions not to conduct any border activities and stated publicly the GOB would offer no support to their initiatives.

On September 8, the BTV ventured to Sarstoon island at the mouth of the Sarstoon River, for the fifth consecutive year, to plant flags as a symbol of Belize’s sovereignty. Their boat of 20 passengers was met by a Guatemalan vessel, which had ventured across from Guatemala into Belizean waters, to question the BTV about their activities.

Since April, the BTV has been on an active campaign to emphasize Belizean sovereignty, by making several trips to the monuments marking the Belize Guatemala border to clear over growth along the line.

Since the efforts began, the BTV has noted several Guatemalan operated farms and plantations inside the Adjacency Zone as well as in Belizean territory. The BTV also ventured to the Aguas Turbias border marker in northern Belize to install two brass plaques on it saying “Belize”.

While Mexico and Guatemala had brass plaques for their countries on the Aguas Turbias marker, the word Belize was written in black magic marker on both sides of the marker, which faced Belizean territory.

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