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May 7, 2019

Belize People’s Front Leader Calls Out Ministry of National Security

The leader of the relatively small, Belize People’s Front, appeared before the media today. Nancy Marin Juan caused a stir last week following an incident at the controversial Sarstoon. On the anniversary of the signing of the 1859 treaty on April thirtieth, Marin was escorted by Wil Maheia of the B.T.V. and journeyed to Sarstoon Island. Marin managed to plant a Belizean flag on the Sarstoon Island but minutes after, the flag was removed and returned to Marin by the Guatemalan Armed Forces. In response the Ministry of National Security issued a release stating the Coast Guard’s Patrol Commander advised Marin that they would be escorted around the island and were discouraged from placing the flag. According to the ministry, when the escorting patrol was returning to the Forward Operating Base, Marin’s vessel, returned hurriedly to the island and planted the flag. It is at this point, according to the government, that the GAF which had followed them earlier without interference proceeded to remove the flag. The Ministry also said that on occasions where Guatemalans would place Guatemalan flags on the Sarstoon Island, the Belizean patrol would remove them as well. But according to Marin, the Government’s press statement is riddled with inaccuracies.

 

Nancy Marin Juan, Leader, Belize People’s Front

Nancy Marin Juan

“When we go to the Sarstoon our Coast Guards informed us that we were not going to be allowed because he has directives to not allow us to step foot on our island and I was definitely not allowed to put the flag on the island. I very politely informed him that his orders from his superiors are his orders, I am not at the service of this Government and no one in the Government can assume to direct my actions or the actions of the BPF. So, we went ahead and he had to makes some calls to verify that I would be allowed to do it and he said that I was going to be left and I can do it at my own risk which we did. I want to say that it was a blatant lie from National Security, how ridiculous it would be that we went around the island, then came back and out-manoeuvred three military boats and planted that flag. We had a fisherman’s boat. So, I have to mention it but I really feel ashamed for them that they would stoop that low to say those kind of lies. We went and we sang our National Anthem, we said our prayer, it was very ceremonious, very patriotic and all three vessels respectfully waited and I must say that our soldiers stood to attention as we sang the National Anthem. I watched them and they all stood to attention including the Guatemalan Military. So, that is very important to highlight. When we left the flag on the island, I noticed that Guatemalan vessel stayed back a bit and they went into the area that we placed the flag and asked the BDF if they are going to take down the flag? My understanding from both sides, both militaries, is that the “Gentlemen’s Agreement” as we call it and Guatemala calls it “Protocol,” that if a Guatemalan flag is placed then the Guatemalan Military removes it if a Belizean flag is placed then the Belizean Military takes it down. Last year the Guatemalan Military took down their flag not our military and that is a fact so that is another lie National Security has told us.”


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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