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Mar 19, 2020

Setting the Record Straight on Guatemalan Transit

Earlier today, word spread like wildfire that Guatemalan nationals were traversing Belize from the Philip Goldson International Airport to the western border and that their transit through the country was facilitated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  While it may have been true that they were traveling cross country to enter Guatemala from Melchor, the account that was circulating in the social media space was rife with misinformation.  That’s according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who issued a release late this evening setting the record straight.  According to the statement, the Embassy of Guatemala informed the ministry that several nationals were being repatriated to their home country and were doing so through Belize.  Foreign Affairs and the Department of Immigration then coordinated the safe movement of those individuals within the context of the existing regulations, as well as the most recent travel advisory. 


Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“Decisions as to who comes and goes into the country and whether or not a border point is opened or closed is for a different set of people.”


Lou Anne Burns, C.E.O., Ministry of Foreign Affairs

“Which is why we share the advisory.”


Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington

“We have no competence to comment on that; neither the ambassador here, who is the C.E.O., neither do I and certainly Ambassador Guerra has no competence to speak on that and whatever he may have said in relation to that is of no moment because it is not within his remit at all.  We have bodies set up to determine those issues.”



“So would you be able to clarify because I was seeing that there were two different things here because when you are saying about taxi driver, well there is that aspect about a taxi driver picking up these people.  So can you clarify what…”


Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington

“Let me just respond.  My understanding is that there are two sets of people involved.  There were two persons who were coming with the knowledge that the Guatemalan authorities and they asked us to extend courtesies.  They could have come on their own, picked them up and gone because there is nothing to prevent them from doing that.  There is nothing in our law, but given how we operate they are very courteous, they advised us and asked us for courtesies.  We had no difficulty with that.  That’s my understanding.”


Lou Anne Burns

“That is correct.”


Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington

“Then apparently there were some other Guatemalans that came in, took a taxi and were taken to the western border.  We have nothing to do with that and as far as I know, there is no law to prevent that from being done, that’s what transpired.  Apparently a member, an ambassador from our ministry made a comment in relation to that.  That’s unfortunate, certainly was not authorized.”

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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