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Mar 14, 2016

Another Sarstoon Standoff: Armed Forces Stare Each Other Down at F.O.B.

There is currently unease in the halls of government following an incident in the Sarstoon on Saturday. While reports started circulating that night, the first official verification came via G.O.B. release twenty-four hours after, on Sunday evening. That release acknowledged that tension in the Sarstoon was at an all time high, and used language like hostile and threatening to describe an approach made by Guatemalan Armed Forces to B.D.F. officers at the Forward Operating Base. Today, an emergency session of the National Security Council was called and in a short press briefing after, Brigadier General David Jones explained what happened on the ground.


David Jones

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

“On Saturday evening about six-ten or so in the evening, we had a Guatemalan vessel go over in front of the operating base that the B.D.F. is constructing at the time and were speaking to the troops there over a loudhailer, informing them that the previous day, which was the Friday, that a vessel had gone up the Sarstoon and gone all the way to Cadenas and did not actually report to them. They are not aware of our complete schedule of how we go through the Sarstoon so they were expressing their dissatisfaction that they didn’t know. Our troops have never gone in there and asked permission to go through and we continue to go through the Sarstoon without asking permission. The vessel that was there speaking to the troops did not want to leave the area, they stayed in the area and they were giving the impression that they were going to remain there, expressing that they are not going to be allowed to go back up the river if we don’t ask permission. So the troops in the area took it as some form of intimidation and they start making phone calls that eventually reached my ears. I in turn informed out C.E.O. that also informed out minister and then the message also reached our prime minister. I subsequently spoke to my Guatemalan counterpart and expressed the concern with the situation currently happening at the Sarstoon, because I just had a meeting with him on Thursday in San Antonio and we both came to an understanding and agreement that we are going to cooperate with each other and to ensure that there’s going to be peace in the Sarstoon area. So he’s committed to that, I’m committed to that so we are going to work through a roadmap now to ensure that that happens. So when I called him, he said General, we just came back from this meeting because we returned back Friday evening and then this incident actually happened on Saturday. So he said he is going to past the direction that there isn’t going to be any more interception and we’re going to work towards peace in the area. So immediately after I call him, it was within five to ten minutes, the vessel that was in front of the B.D.F. F.O.B. had disappeared and left.   So it was a sign of good fate that the meeting that I had with him is working and is going to work. So I’m going to bet on the relationship that we’ve just established that we should move towards a more peaceful resolution.”

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2 Responses for “Another Sarstoon Standoff: Armed Forces Stare Each Other Down at F.O.B.”

  1. Moses Benguche says:

    Wil Maheia is going to get a lot of people killed unnecessarily. The dispute between Guatemala and Belize have been going on for a long time without armed conflict. It will be resolved, hopefully not by military force. While nationalism is a powerful element for a people it is also dangerous especially when one does not have the capability to defend oneself. The only thing stopping Guatemala from marching into PG is the diplomatic repercussion from other nations. Wil is tempting the devil. I wonder sometimes about his intentions. He may be a double agent and his agitation may be to create the atmosphere for a Guatemalan takeover. Why else would he be agitating for a war he well knows we cannot win militarily.

  2. MNHG says:

    Belizeans make me laugh, they no want Guatemala but look who they have working on the Hawksworth bridge in Cayo….ALL GUATEMALANS !!!!

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