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Mar 14, 2016

What Does BTV Have to do with Recent Sarstoon Outface?

We first heard about the BTV in the role of troublemakers in 2015, after Guatemalan gunboats attempted to stop boats carrying BTV expedition members who were intent on circling Sarstoon Island. Back then, both the Prime Minister and Brigadier General David Jones claimed that the actions of the BTV ratcheted up the tension. That’s been disputed in some quarters, especially after a leaked official document which revealed that military to military aggression in the Sarstoon had been escalating for years. But that’s neither here nor there, at least in official quarters, and the BTV is in the spotlight once again.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I don’t know about the gentleman’s agreement, any details thereof, but I am telling you ma’am; as far as I know, the Guatemalans have said we are going to stop the Belize Defense Force from traversing that river. I also know that in conversations with our diplomats, there people have said that part of the problem is—and this is their version—that on the occasion of those incidents, they are insulted, this that and all. I’m not going to get into the details because I am not taking their side. All I am telling you is that in my calculation, there is a cause and effect factor here that can’t be ignored.”

 

Dean Barrow

Reporter

“It sounds like you are casting blame on the visits by the Belize Territorial Volunteers…”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Sir, I have said what I have said. In my view, there is a direct causal link between the step up…nobody’s suggesting that before these incidents, there were not little difficulties…maybe more than little difficulties. We spoke about their trying to shadow our people from time to time, but what has changed is that I have not, in my time, known of any official position on the part of Guatemala saying your B.D.F. people will not be able to go up the Sarstoon. That is recent; we are trying to deal with it now. That has happened in my view partly in consequence of what has been taking place at the Sarstoon.”

 

David Jones

Brig. Gen. David Jones, Commander, Belize Defense Force

“We’ve seen the escalation of the aggression towards us since the BTV started going into the area. And it has been expressed that there was a concern; the Guatemalans have expressed to us it is a concern for the civilians going in there to expressed their sovereignty.”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Let me be quite clear. I think the General will confirm that his opposite number told him that there was a political directive that the B.D.F. is not to be…that has not happened before. This is all I’m saying. Not trying to deny that there were not incidents, but this official position that we are going to stop you, you are not to go up that river; that is what is new.”

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