Tonight the Ministry of National Security Ministry and the Belizean Military are on high alert at the Western Border after a group of Guatemalans barged into Belizean territory making threats to civilians and BDF personnel inside the Caracol Archaeological Reserve.
We've confirmed with official sources that at around 9:30 this morning, there were 4 BDF soldiers along with several carpenters and builders who were at the Valentin Camp. They were working on the Valentin Conservation Outpost. Viewers may remember that this is one of 3 facilities which the Prime Minister committed to see to completion in an effort to help safeguard against Guatemalan incursions.
A reported 40 Guatemalans from the border village of La Rejoya, came armed with machetes and sticks and threatened the Belizeans present. They were angry with the construction of the conservation outposts, and reports say that they threatened to burn it down because they did not want it there.
Valentin Camp is about 1 kilometer from the Belize/Guatemala border, and it is inside Belizean territory. The experts tell us that this is a very serious situation developing because it could become volatile very quickly.
This afternoon, the Prime Minister, who had been briefed by the CEO in the Ministry of National Security, told us about the steps being taken following that confrontation:
Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"I spoke to the CEO in the ministry of national security. He and the commander of the BDF has just done a fly over of the camp in a link helicopter. They didn't see the presence of the Guatemalan civilian invaders and so their senses that these people have now gone away, but it is quite clear that their earlier presence was in furtherance of a threat that the villagers in the nearest adjacent village had made that they will burn down the observation post or the conservation post. Reinforcement from the incisive gallop exercise are being dispatch to the area and our general has spoken to his Guatemalan counterparts telling them that they need to get a handle on the Guatemalan villagers, so that we can avoid an incident that will result in the spilling of blood. Hopefully it's under control now, but it is still fluid. They know what they are doing when they come into Belize and they know exactly where they are when they come into Belize. So really it is outrageous that not only do they come across and do the horrible damage that they do to our resources, but that when now we seek to construct an outpost to help us to better patrol and protect our national territory, that they should be so facey as to think that they can prevent us from so doing. Well that's not going to happen. The BDF will do what it has to do, but really, I think it is high time that the Guatemalan authorities step up and discharge their responsibility."
The Friends for Conservation and Development says that the Guatemalan Village of La Rejoya is one of locations from where illegal loggers originate, and the Valentin Conservation Outpost was strategically placed there as a means of securing the forests in that part of the Caracol Archeological Reserve, which is a part of the Chiquibul.