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Sep 17, 2018

GAF Aggresses BTV during Eco Challenge

On Friday, we reported on the planned Sarstoon Island Eco Challenge.  BTV volunteers led by Wil Maheia, had gone to the area to install a flag when they were confronted by the Guatemalan Armed Forces within Belizean waters. Despite that setback, the third annual challenge proceeded.  At the event this weekend, the BTV say that they were aggressed by the GAF.  While the Belize Coast Guard was present and asserted itself, BTV says they didn’t have any other support due to the intimidating and heavy GAF presence.  The event that is organized and hosted by the Belize Territorial Volunteers brings together competitors in kayaks to race from the shores of Barranco Village to and around the Sarstoon Island. The event is used to raise awareness of this part of Belize that is at the center of the territorial dispute. Wil Maheia was on the scene when the encounter took place and captured this footage where he explained what happened on Saturday.

 

Voice of:  Wil Maheia, Leader, BTV

“The Guatemalans came over and tried their very best to stop our boat, when they saw that we were not going to let them stop our boat, they called for reinforcement. At this time, there were three boats at the forward operating base for Belize – there were two B.D.F and one Coast Guard. They were looking at what was happening. The Guatemalans came over and tried to stop us. After about fifteen minutes, a Coast Guard boat from Belize side decided to come towards but when they came towards us the Guatemalans brought another boat and I am not sure if that intimidated the Belizeans that were on the Coast Guard boat, the Belizean military officials, but they were not like in the past where they come and try to give us an escort to the island, they stayed in the background and never once attempted to escort us. And they were there actually witnessing the Guatemalans trying to ram our boat and actually ramming the kayakers.”

 

The BTV says it will be having a press conference on Tuesday.


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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