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BTV and BDF VS. GAF on Sarstoon #537428
07/24/19 05:49 AM
07/24/19 05:49 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 68,976
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

The Guatemalan Armed Forces was at it again on the Sarstoon River today. A navy boat stoped the Belize Territorial Volunteers as they were heading up-river on the Belize side of the waterway which forms the boundary between the neighbouring countries.

But, today, there was a big difference; the Belize Defence Force swooped in to fend off the Guats, and stand by the BTV.

Here's the story of what happened:..

Will Maheia, Belize Territorial Volunteers
"This was a trip between where the BTV offered to take Satiim up Sarstoon into Black Creek to investigate some allege stealing of timber by Guatemalans. So we left Punta Gorda Town around 7:30 this morning and when we got to the BDF base, they told us we could go ahead and proceed."

Jules Vasquez reporting
But 10 minutes later, they were intercepted by the Guatemalan Armed Forces, eight fully armed soldiers. Maheia told them emphatically, we are on the Belize part of the river:

The soldier tells him this is not Belize, its Guatemala, please return to where you came from. He tells Maheia he cannot go up the river, he needs authority and he hasn't shown him any letter or documents to show he can advance:

Will Maheia, Belize Territorial Volunteers
"Why would we have a paper for our own country? As far we know this belongs to Belize, but you wont let us go up this river?"

GAF Soldier
"This belongs to Guatemala. Have a nice day."

But, undaunted, the 7 man BTV and SATIIM crew continued up the river in the Binky - even as the larger more powerful Guatemalan metal shark powered alongside them creating swells that were threatening to capsize the Binky:

Will Maheia, Belize Territorial Volunteers
"You are making is dangerous for people in this boat."

And, right on cue, like the part of the movie where the good guys come to the rescue, the BDF's vessel appears and cuts off the Guatemalan vessel,

Then taking up the escort of the BTV crew - but that doesn't mean the Guatemalans turned back. They just kept on, right there maintaining the harassment even as the BDF played escort.

Will Maheia, Belize Territorial Volunteers
"The BDF today showed themselves really well against the Guatemalans who insisted from blocking us from going up the river and the BDf held their own and when the Guatemalans tried to block us, the BDF stepped up and was really professional about it from stopping the Guatemalans from blocking us."

And while that's the good news, the bad news is that the BTV and SATIIM team still didn't make it to all the way to Black Creek because of a mechanical failure.

Notably, Maheia says this is the first time since the May 10th ICJ referendum that that the Territorial Volunteers has encountered this kind of determined resistance from the Guatemalan Armed Forces. Will Maheia also reports that this week he has seen the Guatemalan Armed Forces trailing the BDF on their routine patrols up the river to Cadenas.

The Government of Belize has been flirting with the idea of asking the International Court Of Justice to grant provisional measures to order an end to Guatemalan aggression on the river. But, government has indicated that it would prefer to hammer out the voluntary Sarstoon Protocol from the Guatemalans - which they committed to in 2016 - but have yet to deliver on more than three years later.

Channel 7

Re: BTV and BDF VS. GAF on Sarstoon [Re: Marty] #537456
07/25/19 11:44 AM
07/25/19 11:44 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 68,976
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
The Ministry of National Security has reported to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) an incident on the Sarstoon River between the Belize Defence Force (BDF) and the Guatemalan Armed Forces (GAF) which occurred on July 23rd, 2019. In this encounter, the GAF tried to impede access to the Sarstoon by a civilian vessel, and as a result, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is lodging a strong protest to the Government of Guatemala.

The Ministry of National Security has described this latest incident as “Very disappointing and demonstrates bad faith at a time when both countries have made significant progress in moving towards a permanent solution to the long-standing unfounded territorial claim.”

After careful review, the Ministry of National Security has given details on the incident:

The Belize Defence Force Forward Operating Base (FOB) reported that at about 9:23 a.m. on July 23rd, 2019, a Belizean vessel with seven civilians, including Mr. Wil Maheia of the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) and Mr. Martin Cus of the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIM), approached the FOB and requested an escort to proceed into the Sarstoon River. The purpose of the trip was to conduct an investigation on information received that illegal activity was taking place in the area of Black Creek.

The group was being escorted by the Belize Coast Guard in a BDF metal shark type patrol vessel when they were approached by two GAF metal shark vessels, which intercepted the civilians and asked them to turn around. The BDF patrol commander informed the GAF that they would not turn around and that the civilians were being escorted by the BDF. The Belizean vessels proceeded along the river. Some four kilometers short of its destination, the BDF patrol vessel developed mechanical issues and had to return to base.

The Sarstoon FOB commander reports that the Guatemalan patrol vessels refused to let the civilian vessels proceed unescorted and insisted that they were to return which they did.

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