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Mar 18, 2016

More From Foreign Minister Elrington on Guatemala Claim

On Thursday evening, Minister Wilfred Elrington, flanked by Ambassadors Assad Shoman and Alexis Rosado, hosted a press conference in Belize City. It was intended as a public briefing, following meetings at O.A.S. headquarters in Washington on Tuesday, and took on added significance in the wake of a military to military incident in the Sarstoon on Saturday. Due to the lateness of the briefing we could not do it much justice, but tonight we revisit the highlights, starting with the Guatemalan claim on the Sarstoon – the entire river. There seems to be some confusion with the aggressive assertion of that claim. As recently as late 2014, civilians could access the Sarstoon freely. Now they can’t. On Saturday, even our military forces were told that they could no longer go into the Sarstoon. So what’s up with that claim? And is it something new?

 

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“The claim on the Sarstoon was made on the twenty-first of September 1939. Nothing has changed. Nothing has changed. This is a claim that existed from the twenty-first of September 1939.”

 

Assad Shoman

Assad Shoman, Opposition Representative, Delegation to the O.A.S.

“In respect to the Sarstoon we have no doubt that the line agreed by the British and the Guatemalans runs under the island at the Sarstoon and along the mid-channel and we have never wavered from that position. Guatemala’s position that the river belongs to them is new…that is relatively new. I’ve looked at negotiations that were taking place long before I became part of them and yes they’ve always discussed the Sarstoon – what does mid-channel mean because in Spanish they say something else and so one…the Spanish version and the English version, but never have I heard them say that he whole river is ours…which is what they’re saying now.”

 

David Jones

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

“Guatemala has actually taken a posture that is different from what we knew before. Up until last year I wasn’t aware that they were claiming the entire river because the B.D.F. used to traverse the area unimpeded, uninterrupted. There have been instances where the boats have been intercepted previous times, but eventually we were not impeded from going to Cadenas and doing our business. Civilians should also be able to work in the area unimpeded. But up until last year I learned that they are claiming the entire river.”

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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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2 Responses for “More From Foreign Minister Elrington on Guatemala Claim”

  1. Steve says:

    Everytime Wilfred appears to be more of a Guatemalan apologetic. He has sold us out.

  2. Firewalker says:

    I never heard of a country who did’t know where its borders are. What a shame, they can’t even put up a fence. Didn’ t the British give them a map? Why can’t they protect their National forest. At least take the prime ministers thugs he brags about and put them to good use. Belize doesn’t even have a bank to wire money to. The farmers are leaving and going to other countries and the tourist are afraid. The crime is out of control. Where is Belize headed with such poor management?

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