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May 26, 2017

‘No Timeline’ for Completion of Sarstoon Protocol

Wilfred Elrington

In other Guatemala news, the slog continues toward a Sarstoon protocol covering the traversing of the southern boundary by Belizean and Guatemalan civilians.  It has been over a year since Guatemala effectively took possession of the entire river and began enforcing that possession with Belizean soldiers, civilians and news media. Meanwhile, word has not reached Belmopan of the incursions by farmers reported in the southernmost villages of the Toledo District, such as Otoxha and San Benito Poite. But Elrington said these issues remain important to Belize to solve.


Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“I want to suggest that we continue to have discussion in relation to that matter; we’re working on it, we are not giving it up; it is something that we are working on, it is a work in progress.”



“Well, not to rush you; but is there any timeline to concluding those talks?”


Wilfred Elrington

“In this matter, the Belize-Guatemala claim, you will know that this is a claim that has been going on for over a hundred years; so a few months is really not long in the scheme of things. I wouldn’t want to put a timeline on it. But we are working on it. We regard it as being most serious, we would love to have it. But we have to work with our partners and make sure that they acquiesce in our request. But we can’t force them, we can’t coerce them; we can just urge them to do it.”



“I think you said in terms of the encroachments down South, you hadn’t heard anything?”


Wilfred Elrington

“I haven’t heard on it but I wouldn’t be surprised; you know how it is. And that encroachment would continue unless we could bring this matter to an end – and even then we would probably still have some problems. But hopefully we would be able to better manage it once we get a decision from the I.C.J., hopefully.”


There is no update on the progress of the Belize Police Department’s investigation of the death of Julio Alvarado in April of 2016. They are using the independent commissioners’ report organized by the Organization of American States which Guatemala has rejected. The report remains sealed while the investigation continues. As for the recent death of a Guatemalan gold panner, a local autopsy concluded that he died from a fractured skull sustained after falling from a cliff and foul play – specifically, a confrontation with Belizean security forces – was ruled out as the cause.

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