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Aug 12, 2015

BTV Escapes Detention on Reconnaissance of Sarstoon Island

As we have been reporting, the Belize Territorial Volunteers intend to proceed to the Sarstoon Island this weekend, without protection from the Belize Defense Force. But the situation is fraught with danger even before the BTV sets out on Sunday. This morning, BTV narrowly escaped detention when a reconnaissance team led by Wil Maheia fled the area of Sarstoon Island, following a brief scouting exercise ahead of Sunday’s expedition.  According to Maheia, the trio departed from Barranco this morning en route to the island when they encountered a detail of Guatemalan soldiers.  While the leader of the group demanded to know the purpose of the mission, the volunteers were allowed to travel upstream.  Upon their return however, they were met by the same detachment and this time their leader summoned Maheia and his colleagues over to the Guatemalan side of the river where he instructed the boat captain to hand him a rope fastened to their vessel.  The men refused and instead gunned their engine in the direction of Belizean waters.  The latest confrontation comes several days before a planned excursion to the area by the Northern Territorial Volunteers.  We spoke with Maheia this evening about their experience.


Wil Maheia

Wil Maheia, Founder, Belize Territorial Volunteer

“Myself and Orlando De La Fuente and our boat captain, Chucuru, decided to go to Sarstoon Island today because we wanted to make sure that when people come on Sunday that for our event happen, we don’t want anybody to feel uncomfortable. We want everyone to feel safe and secure so we went to do a reconnaissance of the island today looking for good landing spots for the boat and everything. Upon entering the Sarstoon River, the Guatemalan military personnel basically summoned us to come to their dock. I didn’t want t go but our captain said it is best if we go because they are calling us, they got guns in their hands, we might need to go. So I said okay, let’s pull close to them, but we will not dock our boat on their dock. So we stayed maybe about ten to fifteen feet away from their dock, our engine was rolling and they asked us where we were going. And we said we were going up the river for a little bit. They were a little hesitant and they were like and what are you going to do? And we really didn’t respond or tell them a whole lot of details. So we continued to go. We didn’t say yes or no…we just drove off. So we circled the island; I also took my GPS because I wanted to get a sense of the size of the island, which to my surprise was over a hundred acres. We circled the island and on our way back out, we noticed more Guatemalan military on the dock. On our way back out, they insisted that we stopped. They kept putting their hands and waving us down. I was saying look let’s just bullet into where we are going back. The captain said no, they know the boat, they know him and they’ll probably be some repercussions later on so we better stop. Mister De La Fuente said yes I think that we should stop. So we pulled close enough to the dock where we could have a conversation. They asked again what we were doing and we said we were checking out the island and the Guatemalan military personnel asked for our papers. And Mister De La Fuente told him, we don’t need to give any papers. We are Belizeans and we came from Belize and we were on Belizean soil and Belizean territory. He said to Mister De La Fuente, throw me the rope for the boat and then I jumped in and said, no we are not throwing any rope. But the boat in reverse because we got to get out of here now. I said that knowing that their boats were facing opposite from us so even if they tried to chase us, we would have had enough time to get away from them. So we put our boat is reverse and quickly put it in forward motion and we drove off while they were still talking. They instructed their guys to put their boats to come after us, but it’s only a matter of seconds when we are clearly—without any dispute—in Belizean waters and we kept on going. The seas were rough on the way out, but we kept on going. So by the time they got their boat fully powered, we were almost out of sight already. So basically that’s how it went.”


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the B.D.F., has indicated to the Territorial Volunteers that they will not be providing protection during the expedition. 

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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4 Responses for “BTV Escapes Detention on Reconnaissance of Sarstoon Island”

  1. Belizean says:

    Well its a good thing you went ahead to stir up the ants nest. I am sure all the people are going to feel super duper safe. Good Job!

  2. MNHG says:


  3. Belizean Pride says:

    Finally we have Belizeans that have guts to do it, wish I could go to since we have to have pride in our Jewel to say dis da fu wi land to the guats. CARRY CAMERAS TO VIDEO THE EXPEDITION AND TO SHOW THEM THAT WE ARE NOT AFRAID.

  4. antonio says:

    All of you are sick in the head putting women and children in danger… get some education and let the goverment do their job.

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