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Aug 2, 2016

B.D.F. General Says Troops Traverse the Sarstoon Unimpeded and Uninterrupted

And since we had the opportunity, we also asked about an issue which has been pushed to the backburner simply because there’s no more space on the front-burner. What’s the status of the Belize Guatemala talks on a protocol government access to the Sarstoon? Jones says it’s in the works, but in the meantime all is calm.

 

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

“Our troops go to Cadenas unimpeded, uninterrupted. There is no interference whatsoever with the B.D.F. and it’s the same that we expect with civilians as well. Just that whenever civilians would go up the Sarstoon or go all the way to Cadenas or Gracias a Dios, we’d like them to at least check in to the B.D.F. base just to let us know what they’re going to do, and then they can go on and they should have free access going in or coming back out.”

 

Mike Rudon

“Is that an official position that was agreed to by you and your counterpart in Guatemala?”

 

David Jones

Brig. Gen. David Jones

“Well that is something that was agreed at the last meeting that we had in Washington DC. What we really would like is something written, a written protocol. We’re not at that stage yet where it is in writing. That’s the best case scenario. But for the moment things are working pretty fine. We don’t expect any issues with our civilians going into the Sarstoon, as at the moment the B.D.F. is going in there back and forth unimpeded without any interruption. We trust that the civilians will be able to do the same. Just that we would like the civilians to check in at the B.D.F. Forward Operating Base to let us know what they are doing and then they should have free access as well.”

 

Mike Rudon

“This last time we spoke to you very briefly you seemed as frustrated and pessimistic as all of us because we had just been turned back from the Sarstoon. Are you now more optimistic about what is happening there and eventually the formulation of real protocols?”

 

Brig. Gen. David Jones

“I will always keep the optimism. My only concern is when we have our own civilians in there aggravating the situation because what we have seen is that we may have factions from Guatemala who want to behave similarly to Belizeans, form their own group to show their patriotism as well in the Sarstoon River That’s my only concern, but there is optimism because the relationship I share with the Guatemalan general and with the Guatemalan army is good. I believe that it is because of the relationship that we have and we share that things are working so smooth at the moment.”

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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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