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Jul 12, 2016

Lack of Coast Guard Presence Gives Illegals Fishers Free Pass

George Lovell

The coastguard’s noticeable absence from the immediate vicinity of the Sarstoon River essentially leaves Guatemalan fisher folks free to operate in Belizean waters illegally.  Despite an initial presence in the area, the Ministry of National Security acknowledges that for the coastguard to be effective in arresting illegal fishing within Belizean waters, a team has to be stationed at the F.O.B. permanently.


Ret. Col. George Lovell, C.E.O., Ministry of National Security

“It’s not an oversight.  Coastguard were out there for a very short time but they cannot operate with just two people.  They need to have the right complement for them to be effective in carrying out their mandate.  As you know, the military and the coastguard they will have two separate mandate while they are out there.  The coastguard will enforce all those fisheries regulations and everything else that are not of the forward operating base, while the military will be looking after what occurs along the Sarstoon and so they are two separate mandates.  What we need to do is look at how we can have the numbers apportioned in such a way that both of them can carry out their mandate effectively.”

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