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May 6, 2019

PM Comments on Latest Sarstoon Island Incident

In the south, Sarstoon Island and River have been an irritant since Guatemala has been exercising authority in the area.  The latest incident in which a Belizean flag was removed from Sarstoon Island after being planted by Belizeans caused a great uproar.  The flag was removed by Guatemalan Armed Forces and returned to Wil Maheia and Nancy Marin of Belize’s People’s Front. The government said that on occasions where Guatemalans would place Guatemalan flags on the Sarstoon Island, the Belizean Patrol removed them as well. Today PM Barrow reiterated his call to take the claim to the I.C.J. in order to put a stop to Guatemala’s mind games.


Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“A part from phone calls to President Morales we use as I said the people at SOUTHCOM, in particularly the Head of the US Southern Command who played a key role in getting the two miliatir4es to speak and have an understanding even though that understanding would never be published anywhere or documented in writing. So we continued to try to work that particular lever. I from time to time speak to the O.A.S. Secretary General and I did so just recently after Easter when Wil Maheia had been turned back just stressing that there really is a need for us to have some kind of rules of conduct if you will. I continued to push. I don’t want to go too far or say too much but I certainly haven’t heard of any incident latterly where the Guatemalans are stopping the B.D.F. of doing their daily patrol around the island. The situation with Mrs. Juan Marin went as well as could have been expected in the circumstances there is always a worry when the civilians are involved that if something happens they would be in harm’s way. She was able to go and plant the flag. So the Guatemalans removed it but we know that they are hassling us, they are harrowing us. So that ended without Mrs. Marin being exposed, as far as I can tell, to any serious danger. And they didn’t as they have done with Wil; attempt to stop her from getting on the island.  In a sense that is progress. That’s just it, there has been progress before and then there is slippage. They’re doing a dance with us and that is unfortunate. Again that is why we need to get to the I.C.J. to see if we can’t get the provisional measures from the court that would put an end to that messing around with our minds and fooling around with us in way that is absolutely unacceptable.”

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