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Feb 6, 2019

Fishermen Claim That They Were Unfairly Removed from “Sandbore Caye”

A group of fishermen from Sarteneja Village says that they are being targeted by the Belize Coast Guard. According to the fishermen, last year the Coast Guard removed them from a small caye they call Sandbore Caye, which is being used as fishing camp sixteen miles south east of Placencia. They say that the Sandbore has been their base for the past five years and that the caretaker of the land told them to go back because they had an attorney on the case. But on Tuesday morning, they say that more than thirty coast guard officers showed up and forcibly removed them and another person from the caye. They allege that the coast guard offered no documentation to show that they were within their right to remove the occupants and neither did they bother to explain why they were being kicked off the caye. One of the fishermen, Reynaldo Garcia, says that he was physically assaulted by four armed coast guard men.  Earlier today, we spoke with Garcia by phone and he recounted what happened.

 

On the Phone: Reynaldo Garcia, Fisherman

“Some Coast Guard reached there and said that we have to move from there because we nuh have papers for the island but we have papers for the island. Then they chased us and tell us that we have ten minutes to move and they started to pack up our things to send in our boat. And they push out the boat mek we go from there. After that the commander Freddy tell the officers mek they tek out everything and put it in the dory. And so I tell the man how you wah come to my house and nuh bring no papers, no summons to show me. And then I tell the man if you nuh show me papers, I can’t move from here. And then he tell me that he just wants to do it the good way and I step up to some of them and tell them I nuh gwein no way. I neva lift my hand or anything – and about four of them choke me and throw me on the sand and put their knees in my chest and they mi di choke me all about. I have some videos where they mi di chase us and one of the soldiers took my phone and so I couldn’t video what they do to me.”

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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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