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The Ministry of National Security Provides Update On Situation At Barrio El Juda, Cayo District

The Ministry of National Security Provides Update On Situation At Barrio El Juda, Cayo District
November 12
18:26 2019

Ministry of National Security Provides Update On Situation At Barrio El Juda

Tuesday, November 12th. 2019 –

A man who claims that Guatemalan families have been squatting on his land situated at the Benque border says he is getting ready to take those families to Court after repeated attempts to get them to move, even after asking the Foreign Affairs Ministry to intervene.

Jorge Espat says that the family land was passed down through generations, but that Guatemalans started to illegally settle on the land from earlier this year and have remained there, despite his best efforts to remove them.

A press release from the Ministry of National Security today (Below) states that, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they have been taking steps to immediately discontinue illegal settlement in the Barrio El Juda area of Benque. The Ministry release states that high-level officials from both Ministries and BDF soldiers have made repeated visits to the area, including a BDF-GAF joint operation which has gone to inform the settlers of their encroachment. The Office of the OAS Adjacency Zone has also intervened but Espat maintains that the settlers are still there.

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The Ministry of National Security in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the OAS Adjacency Zone (OAS/AZ) has been actively taking steps to address the issue regarding the illegal settlements and encroachments by Guatemalan nationals on private property in the Barrio El Juda area, Cayo District.

Since the Ministry of National Security became aware of this situation, the following actions have been taken to ensure the immediate discontinuation of illegal settlements in that area.

  1. High-level officials within the Ministry of National Security, the Belize Defence Force, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have made multiple visits to the area.
  2. The Belize Defence Force and Guatemalan Armed Forces conducted a joint operation to officially inform the settlers that they are illegally inhabiting Belizean territory and to provide a timeline for the voluntary removal of their belongings. All illegal construction has ceased since that joint operation conducted in October 2019.
  3. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the support of the OAS/AZ office, has taken several diplomatic steps towards the peaceful and expeditious removal of the settlers.

The Ministry of National Security takes this opportunity to reassure the public that it remains vigilant and steadfast in taking measures to ensure the territorial integrity of Belize.

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