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Nov 21, 2016

B.T.V. Challenges Government to Protect Belizeans in Sarstoon

Following two recent incidents – the kidnap of Belizean fishermen and the menacing of patrols from the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management – the Belize Territorial Volunteers are calling on Government to properly address the ongoing intimidation of Belizean citizens in the Sarstoon River area. Guatemala’s forces are now openly escorting Belizean citizens in the northern half of the river, which is Belizean territory. Worse, they are claiming that it is understood between the governments and militaries of both countries that Guatemala has right of say to do this in reference to a so-called protocol.  The B.T.V. in a release demands that Government immediately clarify whether a Sarstoon Protocol exists that allows the Guatemalan armed forces to control access into and on the southern boundary and to protest the affair to the UN Security Council. In a telephone interview this morning, the B.T.V.’s leader, Wil Maheia, also called for Government to start providing security for Belizeans travelling in the area. He told us why, while comparing the situation to action in crime-ridden portions of Belize City.


On the Phone: Wil Maheia, Belize Territorial Volunteers

“That came about after the harassment that SATIIM experienced by the Guatemalan Armed Forces, and also the kidnapping of six Belizean fishermen by Guatemalan armed forces. So we are now saying that as a responsible Government, [that] should be taking care of its people – whenever SATIIM goes to do very important monitoring in that river, that the B.D.F. need to escort them, because they continue to get harassed. When Belize City people or tourists come to Belize and they walk through certain streets of Belize City, they have Police escorts – Police are there on standby to make sure nobody harasses them; but we here in Toledo, we get harassed when we go fishing by the Guatemalans; or when we go up the Sarstoon River, doing tours and what not, by the Guatemalans. So I think it is important that the Government of Belize protect its citizens.”

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