By Alexis R. Milan, Staff Reporter
The Guatemalan government’s response to Belize’s prostest note over the August 16th Belize Territorial Volunteer (BTV) Sarstoon island expedition was disrespectful, says People’s United Party (PUP) Senator Lisa Shoman, who revealed the contents of the confidential document at Friday’s Senate sitting.
Shoman, who is also a part of the Bi-lateral Relations Committee with Guatemala, invoked her immunity as a senator to reveal the contents of Guatemala’s response, in which they rejected all of Belize’s assertions.
Shoman said she believed Belizeans have a right to know what has been said by both governments.
According to Shoman, the Guatemalans, in their response, said they do not recognize the existence of any border with Belize and that they were courteous enough to extend escort to the BTV on August 16th, a courtesy for which Belize should be grateful. Shoman said the letter also scolded the Belize government for allowing the BTV to go to Sarstoon Island, aggravating relations between the two nations.
Shoman added that she has also seen the Belize protest note to Guatemala, and in it, the government denounces the BTV and Shoman, saying that neither party went to Sarstoon Island on the government’s behalf. The government also told the Guatemalans that it had discouraged the BTV from going on the trip but they went against that advice.
Shoman said the government did, however, claim that Guatemalan navy officials entered Belizean waters but it did not defend the Belizean citizens who went on the trip. She added that the public should demand a tougher stance from the government to a blatantly aggressive and disrespectful Guatemalan government.