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Jan 29, 2018

Handling the Sarstoon

John Saldivar

On Friday the Minister of Defence John Saldivar addressed an unexpected visit to Belize from members of the Guatemalan Armed Forces who were said to be asking about an earlier engagement between Belizean police and a Guatemalan reporter. While there are few such encounters at the western border, it is much closer quarters in the Sarstoon where the detachment at the Navy base are often out harassing Belizeans on the river, especially the Belize Territorial Volunteers. Saldivar said he is willing to accept co-existence with the Guatemalans in a river has no defined boundary. But he drew the line at what he called outright intervention and interception of Belize’s armed forces operations in the area.


John Saldivar, Minister of Defence

“In my view, as long as the Guatemalans do not intervene and intercept and try to stop our access and passage through the river they are sharing that river with us as a boundary, as a border.”


“But how about the operating, the river is divided in half, how about them operating on our half of the river and following the Coast Guard on our half of the river?”


John Saldivar 
“I don’t want to use the same term as a colleague has spoken about in terms of that imaginary line; but I’m sure you will appreciate that traversing a river does not always enable you to stay on your half of the river because of depth of water and other obstacles that you may encounter in the river. And that’s why it is important for the protocol to be hammered out because it will address all those situations. I have been up that river several times and I know for a fact that in traversing that river many times we are on the other half, if you want to call it that, of that river that belongs to Guatemala simply because you cannot navigate all the way on your side.”


Saldivar noted that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs continues to hammer out a protocol for both countries’ operations in the area.

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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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1 Response for “Handling the Sarstoon”

  1. Manuel Pinto says:

    El río Sarstun es territorio de la República de Guatemala, porque el tratado de 1859, no establece que la mitad del río Sarstun, le corresponda a Belice, el río Sarstun es territorio de la república de Guatemala excluido del tratado de 1859.

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