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Mar 29, 2016

COLA Speaks Out in Wake of Near Fatal Shooting

Geovanni Brackett

This afternoon, COLA issued a statement on the shooting of Lambey. COLA called on the government to undertake an aggressive internationalization of the territorial dispute by Guatemala. COLA’s President Geovanni Brackett told News Five today that government should issue a timely and relevant response to the latest incident in the adjacency zone.


Geovanni Brackett, President, COLA

“We sent out a press release and it seems to be a continuation of our last press release. We warned you in the last press release that if the government continues to ignore the incidents that have been going on as long as 2003 and before then at the border—whether it’s between our armed forces and Guatemalan Armed Forces or encroachers—that it can lead to further violence. This latest incident just cements what our press release stated two to three weeks ago that ignoring the problem will not solve it. We wish Staff Sergeant Lambey a quick recovery; we have never at COLA doubted the resolve of our B.D.F. forces and our police forces to defend out border, but we doubt that resolve as it relates to the political will of the government of the day. And we were very disheartened when the Foreign Affairs Minister Wilfred Sedi Elrington went to the United Nations and did not even use that platform to deal with the issues relating to our border issues. And so this latest incident as it relates to Staff Sergeant Lambey only cements what COLA has been warning; that ignoring the problem will not solve it. It will not do any good and it will only lead to mass massacre. I believe this latest incident only amplifies the heightened tension at the border. And so we are calling out at the civil society, the unions, the Maya Leaders Association and every other N.G.O. to join COLA to denounce the latest Guatemalan aggression. We lost one of our officers in line of duty, Corporal Conorquie; we’ve gotten one of our B.D.F. soldiers who was shot and injured…who is critically ill and we’ve also in the past had our B.D.F. soldiers arrested and we had to in return kidnap them out of Guatemala. If the government cares about the sovereignty of this nation, if the government has an inch of patriotism within them, they will give a relevant and accurate response as it relates to this latest incident. Every other nation that has had border issue uses the international platform to internationalize that issue. Saying that Belize has no incidents with Guatemala is a complete delusional lie and it is one that COLA will not accept. And so we call on the Prime Minister Dean Barrow to take action, relevant action that is, as it relates to these acts of aggression by Guatemala.”


In a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it says that the detachment of officers stationed at the Valentin Camp Conservation Post was on a routine water supply and administration task when they came under fire by men armed with rifles. The Foreign Affairs Ministry has made contact with senior officials at the Organization of American States and Belize’s Ambassador in Guatemala for them to take necessary action to determine who’s responsible for the incident. 

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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