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Nov 25, 2016

Coast Guard to Support B.D.F. in Sarstoon

In the last few weeks we told you about some incidents involving the Guatemalan Armed Forces and different local organizations. The B.D.F. were stopped not so long ago and it was passed off as a miscommunication on the end of the Guatemalans. And then there was the one involving the SATIIM rangers.  While not as serious as those other two, about a week or so ago, you heard right here on News Five how Wil Maheia of the B.T.V. says they feel as if they are being watched and feel intimidated by the heavy presence of the armed forces. But what about the Coast Guard? They are also a group that is stationed nearby. They are there to enforce the law as it relates to illegal fishing and so on. So have they ever experienced any sort of harassment or intimidation? Commander Borland says no and that they don’t have any real contact with the GAF. And what about the reports that they are now having to accompany the B.D.F.? It is pretty much just a report – but it is not because of any intimidation or pressure from the GAF. Here’s how he explains his team’s presence down there.

 

Reporter

“Sir, is it true that the Coast Guard is now accompanying B.D.F. in the Sarstoon on patrol?”

 

John Borland

John Borland, Commander, BNCG

“No. Not really. But it wouldn’t be unusual if it happens. In fact, I urge and encourage that to happen. The Coast Guard based at Sarstoon are four men, which we refer to as a Boarding Team. As I have said on more than one occasion, to conduct law enforcement north of the Sarstoon to take care of the illegal fishing and anything else illegal that we have the authority to enforce jurisdiction over. Really, we are not there to patrol the Sarstoon that is a brown water responsibility that belongs to the BDF. But if the BDF ever needs our support, we are there to support them as they are there to support us.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Has your team ever experienced anything at all from the Guatemalan Armed Forces?”

 

John Borland

“Well, maybe I should say fortunately we haven’t. The area that we operate in, the Guatemalan Armed Forces don’t ingress that far. Because that would be serious violation of our sovereignty that would require a different set of actions. So, because we are not a part of the BDF patrols on the Sarstoon, then we haven’t had any contact with the Guatemalan Armed Forces. On the sea, which is our area of responsibility, we haven’t had any contact. We were part of the investigation and a part of the team that spoke with the people that were allegedly abducted out of our waters in front of Punta Gorda in that last event. But we didn’t make any contact with the Guatemalan Navy or any form of or armed force.”

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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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