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Jul 30, 2019

Foreign Minister Elrington Addresses Latest Sarstoon Incident

The recent incident on the Sarstoon River involving the Guatemalan Armed Forces, the B.D.F. and a civilian team led by the Belize Territorial Volunteers has raised the ire of many.  The Government said it is sending another strong protest note against the actions of the GAF.  But in the wake of an I.C.J. referendum which sees both countries proceeding to the World Court to resolve the standing territorial dispute, shouldn’t there be provisional measures to address the hostile situation on the Sarstoon?  According to Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington, the issues with Belize and Guatemala are considered run-of-the-mill, or unexceptional.


Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Wilfred Elrington

“We are going to the I.C.J. specifically because the area is disputed and whenever there are disputes in border areas you tend to have conflicts of varying intensity.  The one that occurred last week was, in my view, the kind of thing that we have been experiencing with the Guatemalans for the last maybe year or two.  It was not my belief that by going to the I.C.J. that that would have stopped.  It was my hope and prayer and it’s still my hope and prayer that in fact the frequency is going to be decreased and that ultimately we’ll be able to live in peace with them, in peace and harmony like the manner in which we live in peace and harmony with Mexico.  But between now and the rest of my life and the rest of your life, I think it would be overly naïve for us to believe that there won’t be difficulties on the border, for one reason or the other.  That tends to be the history of border disputes; they don’t disappear just like that.”


Isani Cayetano

“Now weren’t there to have been provisional measures put in place resulting from both countries agreeing to have this matter settled before the World Court?”


Wilfred Elrington

“Yeah, that’s a little misunderstanding really.  My understanding of it is that if in fact we experience or we experienced great difficulties with the Guatemalans which would have caused us tremendous problems, then we would have had recourse to the I.C.J. immediately to sort of get some kind of restraining act on them.  The problems that we have been having with Guatemala are really the run-of-the-mill problems, I don’t think they qualify for the kind of action that is contemplated by going to the I.C.J.”

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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