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Apr 23, 2014

Guatemalan soldier, detained in Belize, but to be set free

David Jones

Armed confrontations along the Belize/Guatemalan border, involving the Belizean military and Guatemalans conducting illegal activities within our country, have been a perennial issue which some may say remain unresolved. And on Monday, a Guatemalan soldier was detained in Belize within the Chiquibul National Park. The soldier and three others were found approximately two hundred and fifty meters inside Belizean territory by B.D.F. soldiers on patrol along the border. Only the soldier was detained and processed and according to Brigadier General David Jones, he will be returned to his country. News Five understands that the soldier will not be charged for illegal entry or any immigration or criminal offenses. This course of action is in an effort to ensure continuous confidence building measures between both countries. Approximately three weeks ago, the B.D.F. had a meeting with its Guatemalan counterparts to address the fatal encounters within Belizean territory.


Brigadier General David Jones, Commander, Belize Defense Force

“The O.A.S. has always verified where incidents occurred, what actually transpired and vindicated the soldiers that they were always in self-defense. We are trying to move forward from the tensions because in 2012, late 2012, there were tensions. In 2013, the tensions continued and then it is reaching a point where we don’t want serious escalations between the military of Guatemala and the B.D.F. So in the meeting I had with the Guatemalan general a few weeks ago, we sat down and we discussed a way forward and this is some of the things that we discussed. When our soldiers inadvertently stray across the border, how can we pacify the situation and hand them over to the relevant authorities as quickly as possible. So that incident that happened over a decade ago, it doesn’t seem fair to us that even though we captured a soldier here in Belize that we are not treating them the same way our soldiers were treated over a decade ago. However, we are trying to move pass that. When our soldiers would stray across Guatemala, this would be the same protocol because even after that incident, our soldiers have strayed into Guatemala. And they have extended the same courtesy to us, so in this incident I am extending the same courtesy to them. So by good faith, we are expecting that they behave in the same manner in the future.”



“It always happens that it is a Guatemalan who is encroaching on Belizean territory and it is always them who get shot and it is always in self defense. The public may be wondering why is it that we always have to be the ones to give lee way and sort of bend over when it is them who is always in this illegal activity.”


Brigadier General David Jones

“It is a fair question, fair thought and it is fair for Belizeans to be asking this question. All the incidents that have occurred that have ended in fatal shootings, it showed that the Belizeans acted in self-defense. It is always only the Guatemalans coming across in Belize. This is one of the exact discussions I had with the Guatemalan General jut about three weeks ago and I have expressed to him that one of the best solutions to this is to encourage their people to stop coming over into Belize; that would solve the problem then our B.D.F. will not have any encounters with them. My intention this year and for the rest of my career while I am here in the B.D.F. is to maintain the territorial integrity and sovereignty of this country. So despite the shooting incidents that have been occurring along the border, I will continue to send soldiers there because this in my view is our country and we are supposed to defend it. And that is why I have been advocating reducing the amount of people working on the streets and then going back along the borders. So that’s what we are doing now; the patrol along the borders has been stepped up and it will continue on that path.”

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6 Responses for “Guatemalan soldier, detained in Belize, but to be set free”

  1. Bulba Martinez says:

    Noh mek no ghost fool you Mr. General, the very same ruthless behaviour by Guatemalans a decade ago towards Belizeans applies now my brother. I agree with you to ease tension because at the end of the day, we can’t fight them with Sling Shots and Rubber Bullets anyway. What is our country going to my people?

  2. Eric says:

    Impressed with the commander….David Jones for foreign minister.

  3. Fair Justice says:

    My opinion, its no insult to the police, its to show them how to do forensicd and how to go about using the evidence available to convict a person. I believe that our police officers shoukd go abroad to do forensic training, too many murders go unsolved in Belize because of lack of resources and lack of knowledge.

  4. CEO says:

    Good move by the Brig. Gen. and the Government of Belize!

    The last time Guatemalan soldiers came into Belize and captured some of our soldiers and was hell bent on charging them with illegal entry and possession of fire arms. If it was not for the ambassador’s efforts they may have still been locked up in Guatemala.

    Let’s hope they would extend the same courtesy we did this time if there is a next time.

    By the way they never returned our weapons.

  5. daniel says:

    CEO yes I remember that incident, they were picked up around Poptun Peten then transferred , the BDF solder’s and police were locked up in San Elena Prison special area “Banderas”, their families and friends would visit and bring them Belizean chicken, Rice & Beans . They would have won their case if they had stayed, they were tricked into Guat territory By the Guats, as I recall. Most unfortunate that the Ambassador got them out on bond then left the country with them, not to return to fight the case, the Ambassador lost his diplomatic status and the BDF & police, now can never return to Guatemala without fear of open warrant pending for them for breaking conditions of bail. What happen to the idea years ago of joint patrol’s in goodwill, this would solve many issues we have now, by working together and stop this political game!!

  6. H@tari says:

    Now that is what a professional is supposed to sound like! You’re a good soldier, Sir, and we rely on your ability. Thank you for your service. If we just had the ability to put boots on the ground more often, I trust you could do your job with convincing authority. Now where are those damn choppers?! Ooohraahh!!

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