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Jun 6, 2016

Gapi Turns Up the Heat on Guatemala at ACS Summit

Gaspar Vega

This weekend, Cuba was the venue for the Association of Caribbean States’ seventh Summit of Heads of State and Government. Belize was represented by Gaspar Vega in his last official undertaking as Deputy Prime Minister, accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington. The Summit is designed to forge stronger ties between the participating countries in the Caribbean, and it is against that backdrop that DPM Vega used his address at the forum to touch on what is perhaps Belize’s most confounding dilemma of current times. Vega appealed to the ACS for support against what he called a very troubling shift in Guatemala’s foreign policy in the Sarstoon.


Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister, Belize

“Belize now finds it necessary to call on our brothers and sisters in the region to be aware of what is being seriously exercised at this time. A very troubling shift in foreign policy of our neighbor and closest trading partner, Guatemala. This is in relation to the centuries old territorial dispute which we inherited from colonial days. This shift in policy manifests itself in the potentially dangerous practice by armed Guatemalan military personnel to prevent Belizean citizens, military and civilians, from their traditional free and unimpeded ingress and egress of the Sarstoon River, the mid channel of which constitutes the southern boundary of our country. This boundary was agreed upon in the boundary convention of 1859 between Great Britain and the Republic of Guatemala. This right of ingress and egress has been exercised without let or hindrance from the late nineteenth century. Indeed, the Belize military routinely utilizes the said river for the changing of the guards and the re-provision of our southernmost military base which today is only accessible by river. Our fisher folk in the South, among others also utilize the river as well to earn their living. This new posture on the part of our neighbor Guatemala poses great threat to the preservation of our peaceful coexistence and is a threat to stability in our hemisphere. It constitutes a clear and present existential threat to our sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is also in direct contravention of our commitment in paragraph two of CELAC’s proclamation of January twenty-ninth, 2014 which articulates our permanent commitment to solve disputes through peaceful means with the aim of eliminating the use of threats or the use of force.” Under these circumstances, and given the seriousness of the situation, Belize calls upon the members of this august organization to join with the countries of the ACP and the Commonwealth in urging both parties to fully abide by the agreement on the framework for negotiations and confidence-building measures of 2005 which commit both countries to refrain from the threat or use of force and lays out a verification process to address border incidents.”

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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4 Responses for “Gapi Turns Up the Heat on Guatemala at ACS Summit”

  1. Mrs P says:

    Finally someone with courage (bals) in the UDP!!!! Something Sedi could never do!!!!

  2. Mrs. P says:

    Finally someone had courage (bals)!!!!! This is what we needed all these years. Too bad Gaspar Vega is retiring.

  3. Rolipoli says:

    Vega for PM……………..

  4. carlos says:

    He should have been Belize’s foreign minister. Sorry that you are leaving as DPM .

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