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Nov 25, 2016

Belizeans Can Travel on Sarstoon – But Check In with F.O.B. First

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington

According to Elrington, Belizeans are free to travel the length of the Sarstoon River without hindrance from the Guatemalan military.  Checking in with local authorities at the Forward Operating Base near the mouth of the river is merely a formality to notify the Belize Defense Force of their presence in the area.

 

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“As far as I know, what we have agreed upon with the Guatemalans is that Belizeans who are coming through and who want to go up the Sarstoon to wherever they want to go would simply stop and notify our post at the entrance of the Sarstoon, just to tell them look, don’t ask them permission, just inform them we are on a mission up the Sarstoon and we would like to let you know, and that is done for various reasons and one of the main reasons is to let them know that our people then, are able to keep sight and oversight of them and to ensure that their passage is safe and uneventful.  It’s simply a mechanism to try to enhance the standard of security given that the area is a contested area.  We felt that it is prudent for us to do all in our power to ensure that when our people are traversing the area they have maximum security and protection.  So they are not required by law, it’s not a legal requirement and they are not, they don’t have any obligation to ask us permission to do that.  This is their country, we regard our half of the Sarstoon River as our territory and therefore we should be able to go on without asking anybody, in like manner we can go from here to Corozal without asking anybody or go from here to PG.  But because the area is a contested area, Guatemala is saying one thing and we are saying another thing, we think that it is prudent that when our people are going up the river, they stop and advise our security post at the entrance to the river, so that our people will know at all times where they are and in the event that there is anything untoward that occurs we can render assistance immediately.”

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