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Jun 6, 2017

B.D.F. Chasing Suspected Guatemalan Incursions

It has now been a month since it was reported that the villages of Otoxha and San Benito Poite have been facing a takeover of acres of territory by Guatemalan farmers seeking greater pastures. The farmers left a mile-plus-long trail from Guatemala into Belize for easier access to their ‘conquered’ territory.  The matter was officially reported to the Belize Defence Force’s local barracks at Fairweather Camp, but Foreign Affairs Minister Wilfred Elrington said his office was not made aware of this specific incident when we spoke with him.  B.D.F Commander David Jones told us today that the army has been pursuing these invaders but have yet to catch up to them. When they do, it will be a matter for local authorities such as the Police and Forestry Departments to address.

 

On the Phone: Brig. Gen. David Jones, B.D.F. Commander

“We are aware of all the incursions that are happening; we do send out patrols to go and verify and for the most part, we don’t find the people on the ground but we do find the clearing, so what we are doing now, we are trying to find out who from Guatemala wpould have been clearing inside Belize. But these things are happening all along the border; we send patrols out to try and find them but when we do go out we don’t find them; the ones we do find in the area we bring them in.”

 

Reporter

“You actually have to catch some people before you can lay charges or anything like that or ask Police to lay charges?”

 

On the Phone: Brig. Gen. David Jones

“That would be the Police function or Forestry, because as long as they want us to go along with them we do, but the B.D.F. is not responsible to arrest anyone along the border. We provide that support for the Police and the respective agency that is responsible to arrest which would more than likely be Forestry. So whenever they find out that there is incursion we will provide final support and go with them, but the B.D.F. is not responsible to arrest anyone; we don’t have any power to arrest anyone.”

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