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Dec 21, 2009

Foreign Minister says Belize-Guatemala border is artificial

Story PictureThe Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Wilfred Elrington completed a one-day meeting with his Guatemalan counterpart, Haroldo Rodas Melgar in Washington, DC. last Wednesday. Agreement was reached on how to handle conflict between the two countries, but that was on the diplomatic front. Here at home, statements appearing on the OAS website, purportedly made by Elrington, have triggered alarm and raised emotions. Elrington was quoted at the meeting as saying, “We have to interact to emphasize the view that we are not different from each other; the fact of this artificial border does not make us different. We are still the same people, with the same aspirations and desires” …end quote. The statement was made at a time when Guatemalan incursions at the western and southern borders are rampant and the pilferage at the Chiquibul Reserve continues unimpeded. Late this evening, News Five spoke to Elrington on the remarks he made.

Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
“When it comes to border artificial means one that is manmade as opposed to the natural border formed by rivers and the like.”

Marion Ali
“Do you think that the use of the word “artificial” sends the wrong message at least on the international arena?”

Wilfred Elrington
“I don’t know, I was giving a press conference like I’m giving one to you now and the word came to my mind but I do not know, really and truly, to be very candid with you, I’m not as hung up as some people are on the whole concept of the border. Border is a demarcation but the point I was really making is that that does not mean the people who live next to the border are different from each other. That marks you politically, that is your geographic boundary. In this case it is agreed upon by man but it is not my view that it creates a whole big difference between people. We have a border dispute which is being resolved in the court. Whatever I say in relation to that is of no moment because the court is going to make a determination.”

Marion Ali
“It’s two different democracies though.”

Wilfred Elrington
“Yes it’s a different system but that still does not detract from the fact that it’s the same people that live across the border.”

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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