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May 9, 2016

G.O.B. Rejects P.U.P. Demand to Remove Controversial Legislation

The government of Belize has rejected the P.U.P.’s demand to rescind the Sarstoon Prohibition Regulation, via a release interestingly titled Government Announces Limited Access to Sarstoon. The release clarifies that there were two rationales behind the law – one, to avoid harm to Belizeans going into the Sarstoon because of the tensions there and two, to give diplomacy a chance to work. The government claims that with formal bi-lateral negotiations to begin soon, military tensions are no longer as explosive as they were when the regulation was passed but, “until the negotiations actually begin, we are not comfortable enough to conclude that all danger has been eliminated regarding large-scale, civilian political expeditions to the Sarstoon.” Still, in view of the progress made, details of which have still not been provided, G.O.B. states that effective immediately, “all non-political, legitimate Belizean civilian traffic into the restricted area will immediately be given lawful authority, under the Regulation, to proceed.” So long story short – the BTV can’t go. The P.U.P. can’t go. Anybody else can go, as long as there are no politics involved. But here’s the thing. We’ve heard this before, on national television, from the Prime Minister himself last week Tuesday.


Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow [File: May 4th, 2016]

“Let’s be clear. We are not stopping Belizeans simplicitor from going. We stopped the BTV. The law is specific. Civilians are prohibited from going without lawful authority, without permission. Anybody else who is going there not on the kind of mission that could result in the confrontation that we feared and that we were determined to avoid will be given permission.”


On Wednesday, March fifth, one day after the Prime Minister gave that assurance, a SATIIM boat carrying rangers on routine patrol was turned back from the Sarstoon.

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