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Jul 16, 2015

Sedi on Guatemalan Gunboat Update

Wilfred Elrington

In June, a Guatemalan gunboat GC-651, the Tecum Uman, crashed into the reef near Middle and Long Cays, causing damage estimated at around forty-eight thousand dollars. With all dispatch, the vessel was pulled off its perch and allowed to return to Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, with a bill to follow. Well, that bill has been sent, but no payment has been forthcoming…and we get the distinct feeling that that is the end of that.


Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“I saw a diplomatic note sent to them indicating to them of the value of damage done and inviting them to pay us for it. I haven’t seen a response from them with respect to that. If they pay, that would be good. If they say they won’t pay, I would invite you to tell me what is the next step. What do you think we should do if they don’t pay? But we haven’t reached that yet. And just like how I don’t want you to invite me to speculate, I won’t invite you to speculate—I take that back. But I do know that we did send, the thing was very well documented and we did send to them. But the important thing is that we are going to continue to have problems like that; we had one with Mexico shortly thereafter. The same thing happened to a Mexican boat because our waters are so shallow. And again, we are able to work with the Mexicans. The Mexicans are not treated any different from the Guatemalans. We treat them the same way because… and we expect to get similar treatment too. It is not unlikely that maybe one of these days our boats go across into Mexican waters and get into trouble. We would want them to assist us and if it caused any damage, they will want us to compensate them and like manner if we go into Guatemalan waters. So these are practices on international sea that are quite natural and normal.”


The assessment was compiled by a team from the Department of the Environment, which claimed that damage to the reef was minimal.

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