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Jul 22, 2015

Sedi Says Sarstoon Island Controversy was Discussed Informally at O.A.S. Meeting

Wilfred Elrington

Foreign Affairs Minister Wilfred Elrington arrived back in country today after working visits in both Washington and Mexico. Just before he left last Thursday, in an exclusive interview with News Five, we asked him about the explosive revelation that Guatemala was opposing the construction of a Coast Guard Forward Operating Base on the mainland at the mouth of the Sarstoon River. Now Sarstoon Island, where a confrontation between Guatemalan armed forces and the Belize National Coast Guard transpired recently, lies within Belizean territory – thus the outrage and immediate outcry – but as Elrington clarified, the island is in an area under dispute. The matter, at the request of Guatemala, was up for discussion before the O.A.S., which was Elrington’s first stop on his trip. So naturally, it was the first question which greeted him today. He told News Five that the Sarstoon Island topic never came up officially, but hopefully it will next week.


Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“It is my understanding that we should shortly have a visit of the Guatemala Foreign Minister in connection with a symposium that we are holding under the auspices of the O.A.S. and that is going to be sometime next week. It is our hope that if and when he comes, we will be able to discuss it preliminarily and then we will further it at the O.A.S.”


Mike Rudon

“Could you indicate if it was brought up even in an informal way?”


Wilfred Elrington

“I raised it when I went to Washington for the inauguration of Nestor Mendez because whenever I go, I have occasion to meet with the Secretary General and I normally brief him on the relationship which we have and I explained to him our indication, our intention, to meet with them and to find out the date convenient to them to have that done. So I did raise it with the Secretary General. They are always very accommodating and I must emphasize that I don’t go there to ask the permission of the O.A.S.; the O.A.S. is there to work for the countries that belong to the O.A.S.  They can’t give us permission to do anything, but they can facilitate the doing of things. So all countries in the region turn to the O.A.S. to facilitate situations, particular where they have difficulties and conflicts and strained relationships. It is always good to have a third party to help you to resolve these matters. So that is basically why we do it. We are a small country, we appreciate our limitations, we want to live in peace and harmony, we want to hold on to all that we have. We want to do all in our power to protect our citizens and our sovereignty, our territorial integrity and we have to find ways to do that that is not going to cause offense and create worse scenarios rather than better ones.”

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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1 Response for “Sedi Says Sarstoon Island Controversy was Discussed Informally at O.A.S. Meeting”

  1. Al says:

    They are unable to have us live in peace and harmony on our very streets, how can we expect them to have us live peacefully with a bully of a country breathing down our necks for the little that we have?

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