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Mar 22, 2016

Leaked Threat Assessment in Sarstoon – B.D.F. General Sends Warning

The Belize Territorial Volunteers, led by activist Wil Maheia, has come under fire recently for its purported role in rousing hostilities in the south, between the B.D.F. and Guatemalan military.  While the group is being blamed in part for agitating an already tense situation, details of a threat assessment documenting those incidents and others have been leaked.  The report draws attention to the fact that there have been encounters with Guatemalan security forces along the Sarstoon River dating back to 2006.  It also brings to light the gravity of the situation from a national security perspective.  But it was leaked and posted online. The Prime Minister has said he has not read the threat assessment and the Foreign Minister said he didn’t know about it.  Needless to say, the release of the confidential document doesn’t sit well with the brass of the B.D.F. or the National Security Council, by extension.  Today, General Jones urged the media to desist from disseminating confidential information that is a matter of national security.

 

Brig. Gen. David Jones, Commander, B.D.F.

“Unfortunately within every organization you have people who want to get some political gain or affiliate themselves with some political party to get information out.  That is very unprofessional and I would advise the media and ask the media to cooperate with us not to tolerate such unprofessional behavior, be it from the B.D.F., the police or the coastguard because there may be, especially from the B.D.F. information of national security interest that affects the country if you post it online.  Because there are things that are discussed between the B.D.F. general and the Guatemalan general that should be kept confidential, that shouldn’t be exposed out there in the media.  So if the media encourages this it can affect the country.  It’s good for news but it’s bad for the country.  We continue to work closely with the Guatemalans, the incidents that have occurred during the past is because of the conflicting direction that is given to both militaries and that needs to be worked out politically.  If that is worked out politically we’re not going to have any issues.”

 

David Jones

Isani Cayetano

“Finally, while I understand that there is a level of responsibility that needs to exercised on the media end, doesn’t this particular information, as leaked as it was, bring to light what has been taking place, documented since 2006?  Would that not have been suppressed had it not been leaked in that manner?”

 

Brig. Gen. David Jones

“No.  Such information that has been leaked out, it only highlights some of the different instances where we’ve had encounters.  The Guatemalans have encountered the B.D.F. in there, as well as they’ve encountered and intercepted civilians in there and it’s because they want to exert the direction that was passed to them politically.  We’re of the view that it can be worked out but unless there is something decidedly political it may be conflict in the area, because it only takes one soldier to takes things into his own hands and it can spark a terrible incident that can lead to violence in the area.  So that’s always a possibility, so to prevent all that from happening it’s best that the political leaders from both countries sit down at the table and also sit down with the military so that the military and the civilians understand what should be expected there and that will prevent any conflict in the Sarstoon.”

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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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