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Apr 28, 2016

A Firsthand Look at the B.D.F./Guatemalan Sarstoon Encounter in March

There was a double murder today in the west and we will come to that shortly, but events of national importance in the Sarstoon continue to dominate the news. Tonight, we bring you exclusive and explosive footage of an aggression against local law enforcement by the Guatemalan military. The incident happened back on March twelfth, when there was a dangerously close call between a joint operation of the Belize Defense Force, the police and the Guatemalan Armed Forces on the Belize side of the river. Now, we had heard and reported about the standoff, but the images had not been seen before until now. The GAF, well inside our territorial waters, came face to face and aggressed the B.D.F. and Police. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

(WATCH VIDEO HERE )

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

For over a year, the Sarstoon River has been a controversial location for Belize and Guatemala.  The recent construction of a forward operating base at the mouth of the river, near the southern border, ensures the presence of Belize’s security forces along the tributary.  That however, makes for an often edgy coexistence between the B.D.F. and the Guatemalan Armed Forces even more so now that Guatemala is exerting sovereignty over the river.  As of August eleventh 2015, there have been at least two incidents of concern where B.D.F. personnel traveling upriver to the Cadenas Observation Post encountered the Guatemalan military.  The most recent confrontation since the beginning of this year was on March twelfth when a detail of soldiers was aggressed by the GAF on the Belizean side of the Sarstoon River.  That standoff resulted in a diplomatic brouhaha in the days that followed, with the ministries of foreign affairs for both countries sending strong protest notes to each other.  But what actually happened on the Sarstoon that evening?  News Five has been provided with exclusive footage of that exchange where you will see in the following excerpt that the Guatemalans clearly crossed over into Belizean waters near the site of the FOB.

 

B.D.F. Soldier

“Relax.  Police, police relax.”

 

Police Officer

“Stop di call me police too bwai.”

 

B.D.F. Soldier

“Hold it down bwai.”

 

B.D.F. Soldier

“We nuh wahn start nothing ya.  Relax police.  I understand… Just relax police.  Bwai relax affa dehn ya bally bwai.  Relax police cause dehn bally da f*ckery.  Relax policeman.  Mek ah tek di picture because we noh understand weh di f*ck di man di seh.”

 

BDF Soldier

“Protocol?  He done di bruk di protocol.”

 

B.D.F. Soldier [Translation]

“He says the protocol has nothing about us having to go and get permission from you guys.”

 

Guatemalan Armed Forces

“Allow me to tell you, with you I can tell you that the official thing is that troops are not supposed to intervene when we are talking.”

 

B.D.F. Soldier

“Tell him the troops won’t intervene, but then he need to put ih man dehn fi stop take pictures, to put them off. Hold on listen to me. Wait man…the man the say keep unu comments to unuself because at the end of the day, dehn wah say we wrong. So keep your comments to yourself or shet up.”

 

B.D.F. Soldier

“Tell the man make dehn go from here mien.”

 

B.D.F. Soldier

“Bwai shut up mien…make we hear the man di talk.”

 

Guatemalan Armed Forces [Trasnlated]

“Ih say how wah Belizean boat mi deh pan the next side.”

 

B.D.F. Soldier

“Tell ahn we got nothing fi deal with that. Tell ahn any civilian boat is not our job; we don’t know anything about a civilian boat.”

 

Guatemalan Armed Forces

“Yesterday I have pictures of a Mopan on the other side.”

 

B.D.F. Soldier

“Sarge, sarge, sarge…ih still di video.”

 

Guatemala Armed Forces

“The same man who maneuvering the boat, the Mopan. Yesterday he was maneuvering the boat on the other side.”

 

B.D.F. Soldier

“The previous day, you were here also.”

 

B.D.F. Soldier [Translated]

“It is protocol but you cannot come this side.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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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5 Responses for “A Firsthand Look at the B.D.F./Guatemalan Sarstoon Encounter in March”

  1. Hatari says:

    This is embarrassing. Our troops and police officers talk and act like unprofessional, untrained, uneducated, and definitely unsupervised juveniles! No wonder this mess is totally out of hand. Disgusting!

  2. mel says:

    the Belizean army cannot match the guat army because of its size and armament so Belize have to act smarter to resolve the guat crisis. Mr Elrington type of diplomacy has not work and will not work. Why PM has not seen this???? It was obvious to the common Belizean that Elrington’s diplomacy was a failure this was evident to everyone over a year ago except for GOB but i quess pride was stronger than to admit failure.

  3. Samcro says:

    I agree with Hatari, our law enforcement is a joke.

  4. ag says:

    i saw the video multiple times. it show from the angle, audio and the transcript that the Guatemalans timed that approach. now our forces basically being ambushed handled them selves professionally. why i say that is because the commanding BDF officer established his authority immediately and hand the un-trained police officer check for his response due to the volatile reaction he could trigger. The BDF officer clearly knew that he needed to exercise tack and ability in his response and command. his subordinate in the unit simply reported observations for his attention. now it must be noted that these GAF individual came whit their hands already on the weapons not pointing but clearly prepared for a confrontation. its a clear provocation of the Officers and brought to light the marked difference in the training given to our security forces.

  5. tashy says:

    so glad I am giving up my Belizean citizenship, so glad. thanks for convincing me its the right thing to do. just so stupid. Not running from Belize the country well yeah I am but the GOB is all stupid.

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