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Sep 19, 2018

Minister Saldivar Weighs in on Sarstoon Incidents

John Saldivar

Minister of National Security John Saldivar also weighed in on the Sarstoon incidents. He says that they have made it clear to Belizeans that in an effort to ensure safety; they must check in with the B.D.F. to escort them on the Sarstoon River.  In this case, Saldivar says that the Belize Territorial Volunteers failed to notify the military and it is for that reason that they had no support. As we showed you on Tuesday night, one of the military officers, believed to the commander of one of the vessels, told the BTV that they couldn’t be in the area because of a protocol that prevented persons from navigating that area because it didn’t belong to Belize. Minister Saldivar says that the touted protocol does not exist.

 

John Saldivar, Minister of National Security

“I think we have made it clear already that we understand there are elements from the Guatemalan Armed Forces that seem to be dead set on occasionally interrupting Belizean passage through the Sarstoon River. We have therefore come up with a protocol from our side that we believe the Belizeans should observe so that we can secure their security in passing through the Sarstoon River. On those two particular occasions, the volunteers didn’t check in as we have been requiring of them and it resulted in confrontation with the Guatemalans which we regret and we have already sent a note protesting to the Guatemalan government.”

 

Reporter

“Do you feel that these groups are perhaps doing it because they have political motivations because they are aware of the protocol that B.D.F. has in place?”

 

John Saldivar

“Well, one can come to that conclusion. They can more explain why they are doing it contrary to what we have asked them to do. And we feel that if they do follow the protocol that we have established, the B.D.F and the Coast Guard in the area are able to secure their right to pass through the river. We have done it on many occasions including with the leader of the volunteers who has previously been escorted by the B.D.F up that river without incident.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Sir, the BTV has flatly denied what was issued in that press release. They say that they had requested support not once or twice, but, I believe, three times?”

 

John Saldivar

“I am not aware and I stand to be corrected if they can show any documentary proof that they did. I am not aware that they did and certainly the report that we got from the B.D.F. stationed at the F.O.B. is that they simply passed by and waved and didn’t stop in to talk with the soldiers there.”

 

Reporter

“We are told that from the video, the Guatemalan actually said, presumed to be the commanding officer said that there is a protocol that Belizean civilians are not allowed to navigate that area. Could you speak to us about the movement in that area, clearly Belizean waters, and if there is indeed such a protocol, written or unwritten?”

 

John Saldivar

“I think you are aware that we have been seeking a protocol with Guatemala for some time now and have been unsuccessful in reaching an agreement on a protocol. There is none that I am aware about and certainly there is none that we would agree to that would restrict the movements of Belizeans, civilians or military, up that river.”

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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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