No need for diplomatic note on murder, says F.M.
We asked Foreign Minister Elrington if there will be a protest note sent to the Guatemalan government in the wake of the fatal shooting. According to the F.M., it is not the normal practice of the ministry to issue protest notes in cases involving civilian-related crimes. The question was posed in the context of the uproar that the Guatemalan government raised in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of thirteen-year-old Julio Rene Alvarado in the Chiquibul Forest in 2016.
“There is the notion, if I may, that in light of transpired last year with the killing of the teenager in the Chiquibul Forest and what happened subsequent to that, the stern diplomatic note that was sent by Guatemala and all these other actions, that perhaps Belize should also be taking a position, if not similar, some position against this particular incident over the weekend. Can you shed some light in terms of how different these incidents are and the implications of it?”
Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
“Isani, if you have been following these incidents, I think we have been having a number of cases where people of different nationalities have been killed in Belize over the last couple years. We have a Canadian killed, Salvadorans killed, Honduran killed, Guatemalans killed. It is not the practice diplomatically to be sending notes in relation to those things to the various countries from where these people come. As far as I am aware, what is done [is that] you do a regular police investigation into the matter, in like manner in which you were to do an investigation if it were in fact a Belizean who was killed. There’s a difference however, when a citizen of one country is killed by a member of the security forces of another country. That is a much more delicate matter and under those circumstances we are much more circumspect on how it is handled and it is possible the country from where the person comes may want to send us a diplomatic note on the matter, but it is not usual for that procedure to be adopted. As far as I am aware, when it is a domestic issue between two private individuals.”
“This, in light of the fact that there is the border dispute and there seems to have been hostilities over the past year or so between both countries. Can you allay whatever concerns may come out of that?”
“Well, I don’t think there is particularly alarming occurrence. We have had quite a few cases of killings within our country, of peoples of different nationalities. This is also within the country, it is not really different from the other cases of shootings within the country.”