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Aug 7, 2015

…Relationship Between Armed Forces Can be Jeopardized

David Jones

In spite of Guatemala’s existing claim for ownership of Sarstoon Island, a routine B.D.F. patrol maintains military presence in the area.  Commander Jones told News Five earlier today that the role of that detachment is to aid in efforts to mitigate illegal activities within the Sarstoon.

 

Brig. Gen. David Jones, Commandant, B.D.F.

“We don’t believe that conflict is the way to solve that issue, especially military conflict because if the Guatemalan military goes there to try to arrest them and we go there to try to stop it there may be exchange of gunfire and that could start a war.  That is not something that I believe, and I believe that sensible thinking people would believe that we’d like to see Belize going into the direction of causing conflict with our neighboring country.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“In terms of the actual presence on the ground at the moment, does the Belize Defense Force routinely patrol or maintain a presence near the Sarstoon border?”

 

Brig. Gen. David Jones

“Well we have an observation post as most of the nation knows, called Cadenas, which is at the southwestern end of Belize.  Routinely, every week we pass through.  At times we send patrols through the river because there are intelligence information that is passed to us sometimes that there is either illegal fishing, illegal logging or poaching or illegal plantation that is planted on the northern side of the Sarstoon River.  So we do send patrols in there to investigate these reports and if they are found to be true we deal with them.  If we find any incidences of illegal logging we try to arrest the situation and it’s the same with illegal fishing if it’s found there because we normally have a policeman with our patrol.  Having a base out there eventually will make sense but our intention is to have an observation post out there but to work jointly with the Guatemalans because there are illicit activities that happen regularly through the Sarstoon which are counter-narcotics operations that will need to be done.”

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