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Aug 19, 2015

Should BTV Mission Have Been Accompanied by Local Military Forces?

The government has also come under fire because the expedition which included approximately one hundred and fifty Belizean men, women and children was not afforded the protection of a Belizean military presence. According to the PM, two questions have been at the forefront – whether the military should have been present…and since there is talk of another expedition, if the B.D.F. or Coast guard would accompany any second expedition to Sarstoon Island.

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I say right off that the answer to both questions is an unqualified no. But let me tell you why that is so. Guatemala claims the river Sarstoon, not in the same way as it claims other portions of our country. Their position is that what we know to be Belize never included the Sarstoon River, and that our border in that area stops on the bank of the river on the Belize side, so then entire Sarstoon was always part of Sarstoon territory and recognized as belonging to them. We consider that to be completely wrong and against both history and geography. We therefore, unequivocally maintain that the boundary between the two countries is the mid-channel of the Sarstoon River through knowledge from time immemorial and stated in the 1859 treaty. And we accordingly continue to declare that we are sovereign over our half of the Sarstoon River. We say this, we mean this, and we will never change this. And as it is with the Sarstoon, so it is with all of Belize. This territory is ours, the entire 8867 square miles of it and our sovereignty over our country which not only our military but ultimately all of us are prepared to defend to the death is unalterable, unshakeable, immovable.”

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