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Apr 21, 2016

General Jones Says Civilians in the Sarstoon Will Be Intercepted by GAF

David Jones

We also spoke to the general about the new state of affairs in the Sarstoon following the rejection of the protocols by Guatemala. Jones clarified that any understanding of non-interception would apply only to other military craft and not to civilians going into the Sarstoon. Keep in mind this interview was done on Wednesday, hours before the shooting and President Morales’ very bold response.

 

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

“He had given assurance for our military not to be disturbed. Only the military. There is going to be a concern when civilians go in there. I also have objection to that because even if it is civilians we don’t want them to be intercepted. However, if you have a civilian vessel, and you are not properly identified as who is coming in here, they can suspect that there is some illegal activity coming into the river, so by all rights and by all means they should come in and intercept who is coming into the river. But as soon as they’ve established who they are and they’ve confirmed who they are, they should be left alone to continue on their journey because people from SATIIM or any other NGO should be able to traverse this river un-intercepted, unimpeded. But bear in mind that illegal activities happen along this river. So if a vessel is coming from the high seas it could be coming from Honduras, it could be coming from anywhere in Central America and coming here. It would not be professional of them not to intercept those vessels because they need to know who is coming through. It’s the same for us. If we see vessels coming from the seas, it could be coming from Honduras, it could be coming with drugs, it could be coming with illegal arms or trafficking in persons, so we should do the same, and that is why we want to have a protocol so that if anything is coming into the river, it is best that we work jointly. Belize and Guatemala need to work jointly in this area.”

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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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