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Aug 7, 2015

B.D.F. Commander Says Decision by B.T.V. is Ill-advised…

The Belize Territorial Volunteers, despite not having received government’s blessing, is proceeding with an expedition to Sarstoon Island.  But it seems they will also be trekking to the controversial area without any protection from local law enforcement or military personnel.  It is a decision that is being described as irresponsible, in light of the fact that the landmass in question is presently under dispute by the governments of Belize and Guatemala.  BTV’s recalcitrance, according to Brigadier General David Jones, can lead to conflict between the armed forces of both countries should they be arrested and taken into custody on the other side of the border.  While Jones, as commander of the Belize Defense Force, shares the common belief that Sarstoon Island is part of our terrestrial and insular territories, he does not advise the organization to go ahead with the trip.  He says that the B.D.F. hasn’t been informed of the upcoming expedition.


David Jones

Brig. Gen. David Jones, Commandant, B.D.F.

“We’ve only heard that they plan to have an expedition, I believe this weekend, that trek or expedition that they plan we don’t think it’s advisable.  I think it’s ill-advised for them to do it because that area is in dispute between both governments and we strongly believe that that’s an issue that should be discussed and solved diplomatically.  Having the territorial volunteers out there will only aggravate the situation that we have now with Guatemala.  We’re trying to go through a process that eventually may go to the ICJ if the populace sees it fit or deem it necessary for it to happen but they’ve had that dispute for over a hundred and fifty years and having our territorial volunteers go there knowingly that Guatemala has an issue with the actual island.  According to us in the B.D.F. and the country of Belize, we strongly believe that the island that is inside the mouth of the Sarstoon belongs to Belize.  They have a different view, they strongly believe that that island has never been in dispute at all and they believe that the international boundary runs north of the island.  We believe that the boundary runs south of the island.  But such an issue that is in dispute between two bordering countries, we don’t think it’s prudent for any civilians to get involved where military personnel may have to do something about the issue or law enforcement because it will only create an escalation of forces in the area and that could lead to conflict in the area.”

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