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Sep 20, 2022

Another Confrontation between B.T.V. and G.A.F.

For the past few years, we haven’t heard of any confrontations between Belizean civilian excursions to Sarstoon Island and the Guatemalan Armed Forced. But on Sunday, when the Belize Territorial Volunteers took an excursion of Belizeans, including a number of scouts to Sarstoon Island, they were met with stark resistance by a patrol of five Guatemalan military boats that attempted to turn them back. As leader of the BTV, Wil Maheia told the media today, were it not for one of their able captains, Neville Smith, their excursion would never have made it to the destination.

 

Wil Maheia

Wil Maheia, Leader, Belize Territorial Volunteers

“We had a nice crowd with us, more than sixty people, like five, six boats – five boats with more than sixty people – and we left Punta Gorda around nine a.m., and we sailed to the Sarstoon with intention to go to the Sarstoon Island, but even before we reached the mouth of the Sarstoon River we saw boats coming at us. The boats actually came into Belizean waters and before we got to the mouth of the Sarstoon River, the boats then asked us for papers. And they asked where I was going. I told them I was going to the Sarstoon Island. It’s our Independence Day and we were going to raise our flag there as we usually do. They said well today you’re not allowed to go there, that is Guatemalan territory. And I insisted that is not Guatemalan territory. But there were five boats, heavily armed, with more than fifty armed soldiers on their boats and we decided to push in. When I decided to push in they blocked my boat. All the Guatemalan boats were trying to stop us one by one but one by one they can’t stop us. So we proceeded, all this while they were trying to cut us off, cut us off. I reminded them that we have young people on board and this could be dangerous and they can’t be behaving like that. After several back and forth, pushing with the Guatemalans, eventually my boat got into the island itself. When that got in there we were joined by Neville’s boat, another boat and then Jose’s boat. And we sang the National Anthem for a second time. When this was happening, all the Guatemalan boats hovered around us very close and you could see that they were disgusted because we made it to the island and we were singing our National Anthem.”


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