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Sep 20, 2022

Maheia Calls Ministry of Defense’s Press Release on Confrontation as “Weak”

But Maheia describes the ministry’s response as weak and said we should be demanding the Guatemalan military boats to return the flags that they removed from Sarstoon Island. In addition, Neville Smith, whose boat managed to get past the Guatemalan military boats, told the media that as a contractor, he thinks the B.D.F. should still be posted at the Sarstoon Island Forward Operating Base, a building which the B.D.F had vacated because its structural integrity had come into question just seven years after it was built. We hear first from Wil Maheia on the ministry’s release.


Wil Maheia

Wil Maheia, Leader, Belize Territorial Volunteers

“Within seconds of us drifting off, they moved in on the flags and they start pulling down our flags. And when they pulled down our flags we told them, look, we’re not going to allow you to take down our flags. We want our flags back. We insisted that they give our flags back and they insisted no because our flags were planted in Guatemalan territory. At the same time I noticed that the sea was getting rough and I did not want to come out of that river mouth with the sea rough with all these people on board. The press release is very weak because it said exactly what we said and it had nothing in there to say how we will get back our flag. They knew we were there. They saw our flags in the Guatemalan boats and our flags are still there. The government needs to get back our flag.”


Neville Smith

Neville Smith, Member, Belize Territorial Volunteers.

“The B.D.F. move over to the Barranco base was a slap in the face or a punch in the eye based on the fact that Guatemala actually see that as a win. I’ve been to the Sarstoon base so many times, I’ve walked around the base, I gone eena the base this time and I did my own inspection. I’m also a contractor. I nuh believe that the state that the building deh eena right now was a reason for them to move away from the building. I did my own inspection and to me it’s okay, it’s liveable, so I think we need to put back wi presence down da the Sartsoon River. And I’m surprised that place is not vandalized as yet because there’s nobody there.”

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