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Feb 26, 2013

Words of former P.M. on B.D.F. arrests along border in 2000

Wilfred Elrington

The Belize Territorial Volunteers will take at least one hundred machetes to clear a border line as part of a project called “Clearing the Border.” The Guatemalans are apparently against the exercise and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had issued a statement regarding the danger of the exercise.  But organizers say scouts, volunteers from several villages; The Belizean Coalition for Justice, COLA and others will be heading down south for the project that takes place this weekend. When News Five’s Jose Sanchez spoke to Foreign Minister Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington on Monday about the group’s plan, Elrington revisited an incident that occurred in February 2000 when Guatemalan soldiers arrested four B.D.F. soldiers southwest of Jalacte Village and took them to Guatemala. Elrington then read from a book penned by former Prime Minister Said Musa which echoed his sentiments about being careful of incidents along the border with the Guatemalans.

 

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“The danger inherent in such actions can readily be seen from the details of a press conference which was called by then prime minister, Said Musa on the twenty-sixth February 2000. Instructive excerpts of that speech is now reproduced in this release and we quote. We call this press conference today to provide you with the facts as we know surrounding the incident that occurred on Thursday morning, February twenty-fourth, 2000 in an area of Belizean territory near our Belize Defense Force border posts; south southwest of Jalacte Village in the Toledo district. Our information is that a joint B.D.F./Police Border Team comprising Second Lieutenant Romaldo Herrera, Lance Corporal Lucio Arana, Private Luciano Tzub and Police Constable Macedonio Sanchez were on a routine patrol along a route used by our security forces well within Belizean territory when they encountered a group of about twenty-five uniformed Guatemalan military personnel. The B.D.F./Police Team established itself to be well within Belizean territory, but the Guatemalan patrol disputed this. In an effort to prevent an incident, the B.D.F./Police Team agreed to move to the Guatemalan post of Santa Cruz along with the Guatemalan patrol to await the arrival of senior officers from both sides to verify the location of the encounter. On the arrival at Santa Cruz, the B.D.F./Police Team were transferred to San Luis and placed into the custody of police while they were informed that they will be charged with illegal entry and possession of prohibited firearms. They were later moved to Santa Elena where there is a district court to await the arrival of a magistrate. They have since been detained in Santa Elena awaiting trial. I rely on the discretion and goodwill of the Guatemalan government and the support of the international community to resolve this matter peacefully through diplomatic means so that Lieutenant Herrera, Lance Corporal Arana, Private Tzub and Constable Sanchez can return home as soon as possible. Our two nations can then continue to build bridges of friendship, understanding and peaceful coexistence with mutual respect. I also make an open call on all parties at home to resist the temptation to try and use the Guatemalan issue to divide our people.  This is a matter that affects the national interest of Belize and we must all remain firm and united in the defense of Belize’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. This was a press release that I just quoted given by then Prime Minister Musa.”

 

The group, headed by Wil Maheia will begin the clearing exercise on Saturday.

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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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7 Responses for “Words of former P.M. on B.D.F. arrests along border in 2000”

  1. Lucas says:

    In medieval times, during the crusades, there was a priest who thought that the armies of the christian countries were not doing enough to drive the saracens out of palestine especially from JERUSALEM. This impatient priest thought he had to do something and gathered an army of farmers but mostly young people and children. They never made it to the holy land. On the way, they got lost. Many died and many children were kidnapped and were sold as slaves. Up to this day, the whereabout of their remains is still unknown. Mr. Mehia, is leading farmers, young people and children most of them unfit for jungle work. Mr. Mehia should not get me wrong but zeal without knowledge is a recipe for disaster and bravery is not reckless. If something goes wrong, God forbid, Mr. Mehia should be aware that it will spell his political demise. I call upon all involved, especially Mr. Mehia, have PATIENCE and be PRUDENT which is the ability to know when is the right time to strike and now is not the time. My fellow Belizeans WAIT AND I SAY IT AGAIN: WAIT.

  2. not again says:

    To me it looks that not even the goverment knows where is the line between Guatemala and Belize. Or was it sold long time ago? We dont care what Guatemala thinks of the clearing we are in Belize and Belize tha fu we.!!!

  3. Islander says:

    Let me get his straight mr Elrington “Guatemala says jump, and we must ask how high”?

  4. Storm says:

    More evidence that the Guats have a long history of violating our border and being hostile to Belize. Guatemala is NOT a good neighbor, and if we give them an inch they will take a mile. No to appeasement!

  5. blackberry says:

    Belize did fail in informing the entire world through diplomatic notes and foreign media that these BDF soldiers were kidnap while patrolling on the Belize side of the border.

  6. Eye in the Sky says:

    Will someone buy this man a razor to cut his ugly beard.

  7. ceo says:

    This is something they would have never even contemplated if it were British soldiers patrolling that same area. Guatemala is the hostile one and they encoyrage their citizens to ignore the border.

    Reading from Musa’s book is to prove what point? Maybe if he would be more willing to stand up and speak out with no uncertainty crap like this would not happen but sitting back and waiting for someone else to decide our future for us cannot cut it. He needs to speak out forcefully against incursions and give support to those that are taking a step in that direction. Not make speaches that gives tascet approval for Guatemala to cross our border and take Belizeans hustage.

    I think all those who are willing to stand up are aware of the risks so his talk about the dabgers of their actions did not say anything they did not already know. People like Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandella if they were not willing to die for their convictions this world would be a much different place now. Why don’t he make a trip to the border?

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