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Guatemalan Protest halts Cargo trucks from entering Belize #542289
05/12/20 05:20 AM
05/12/20 05:20 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 81,915
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

This morning, cargo trucks coming into Belize were stopped by Guatemalan protesters at the bridge in Melchor de Mencos, Guatemala. The protest halted products coming in from Guatemala to Belize. The protest reportedly had to do with an immigration issue. Love News contacted the director of border management, Debra Estrada for a comment on the situation but our calls went unanswered. Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams commented on the matter stating that it was out of their jurisdiction since it occurred in Guatemala.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “Yes we have received information that the Guatemalans are protesting on the Guatemalan side of Melchor and that protest has now resulted in the blockage of the Melchor Bridge. Yes we know that that bridge is key in terms of goods coming into Belize from the Guatemalan side particularly fuel. That matter is being looked at through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs I guess they’re going to see how it can resolve through diplomatic means it is not a matter for us because it is not within our country and so we just await to see what will happen from through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of the Health Services, spoke about whether or not these truck drivers and their laborers are allowed to enter the country.

Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “Again if you’re coming in it has to do with risk. If you’re coming in to just deliver and then go back out without minimum interaction with anybody I don’t know that that would be a high risk activity. It’s the constant activity, assuming that these people are also not ill I don’t know that we should – I guess they can come in. I hear what you’re saying in terms of what happens up north versus what happens down west but it should be able to happen if people are routinely just coming into do their delivery and go back out with minimum interaction with the general public I don’t think that that should be a problem as we move along.”

Love News understands that the matter has been resolved and the truck drivers were allowed to enter the country to deliver their goods.


Re: Guatemalan Protest halts Cargo trucks from entering Belize [Re: Marty] #542314
05/13/20 04:46 AM
05/13/20 04:46 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 81,915
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Strike On The Western Front

The western border remains blocked with Guatemalan grain trucks tonight. As we told you last night, about five 18 wheelers from Guatemala which are here to purchase grain from Spanish Lookout have blocked the bridge on the Guatemalan side. They've come from far away, and in a type of strike action - say they aren't moving anywhere unless they get to pick up the grain. But, the Immigration Department doesn't want to let in the Guatemalan drivers, and - we are told - the proposal is for Belizean towheads to pull in the trailers, as is the practice in the north.

But, this hasn't worked out - and it's causing anxiety in Spanish Lookout where there are silos full of corn waiting to be exported.

Additionally the blockage is causing a bottleneck on the Guatemalan side of the border, where a long queue of trucks is waiting to get into Belize with their products - which include items like cement.

The blockage remains at this hour, and all parties are hoping it can be cleared by tomorrow. As we have reported, Belize's borders are formally closed, but they are open for the movement of cargo.

Channel 7

Re: Guatemalan Protest halts Cargo trucks from entering Belize [Re: Marty] #542335
05/13/20 12:43 PM
05/13/20 12:43 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 81,915
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
The traffic block at the Western Border with Melchor, mainly by Guatemalan truckers wanting to bring in their cargo into Belize is a matter that is being worked out diplomatically between our two countriesí Ministries of Foreign Affairs. Belize's former Ambassador to Cuba, the current CEO in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lu-Anne Burns, told the Reporter that "all issues affected by COVID-19, where various arms of Government in each country must factor public health and safety in these exceptional times, require dialogue and patience to identify the best practices and best solutions, particularly as you balance the responsibility of keeping the public as safe as possible with trying to build momentum for the economy."

The Foreign Affairs official added that neither exports from Belize or cargo coming into our country are blocked and that there may be, from time to time, changes in procedures on how they are handled.

The situation at the Western Border is different from that of the Northern Border, in that up north, the containers that the Mexican truckers bring are unhinged at the border and then brought in by their Belizean counterparts. However, when our law enforcers tried to introduce that practice at the Western Border, they met strong resistance from the Guatemalan truckers, who decided to park their trucks at the border, creating a bottleneck with traffic flow and also successfully impeding our Mennonite farmers from taking their produce across to Guatemala.

The situation is expected to be resolved sometime this week, perhaps as early as later today.

The Reporter

Re: Guatemalan Protest halts Cargo trucks from entering Belize [Re: Marty] #542339
05/14/20 05:14 AM
05/14/20 05:14 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 81,915
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Western Border Blockade Ends With New Cargo Protocol

The three day blockade on the Guatemalan side of the Western border ended this afternoon. That's after customs and immigration hammered out a protocol to allow the passage of about a dozen Guatemalan 18 wheelers which arrived on Monday to purchase yellow corn in western Belize.

They were not allowed to enter because the drivers are Guatemalan - and their COVID status is not known. When that happened, those truckers blocked the border bridge in Guatemala, leaving more than two dozen other large cargo trucks bound for Belize stuck on the Melchor side unable to come across.

For a while, Belizean authorities held their ground; saying that the trailers should be pulled in by Belizean towheads - like what happens at the northern border.

But, for many reasons having to do with the nature of the corn trade - this was not a practical choice. In the middle were anxious corn producers who are worried that they will lose the Guatemalan trade connection and be stuck with hundreds of tonnes of corn in their silos and in the field.

So - with that urgency fuelling the push for a breakthrough - after two days of back and forth, a compromise was reached this evening.

As we understand it, the protocol dictates that the Guatemalan truckers will be allowed into Belize, but they will be trailed by a customs guard in another vehicle - until they finish their business and go back out the border.

Minister of state for Immigration Beverly Williams told us more a short while ago:

Hon. Beverly Williams, Minister of State, Immigration
"The Guatemalans I am aware that some of them entered today, they took back empty bowsers and some of them dealt with banana. So the border is closed now at 4. However, I don't know that the matter is fully resolved because the trucks are still parked at the border, but there is a little movement now and hopefully by tomorrow we will be able to determine better if they are in agreement with the protocols that we've put in place."

Jules Vasquez, reporter
"You all have created a document with protocols for movements at this border?"

Hon. Beverly Williams
"Yes, for the movement of importation and exportation of cargo at the western border at this time, because when the cargo comes in it goes from the Guatemalan side it comes into the cargo area in customs and so that is where if you have a bowser that can be unhitch then you will unhitch and the Belizean driver will take that bowser further into Belizean territory. If for those that cannot be unhitch you will have to have the movement of that vehicle or whichever kind of means of transportation whether it's the trailers, the bowsers whatever it is that brings it into for example Blue Creek or Spanish Lookout or down to Fyfes or for citrus pulp, whichever one it is that the Guatemalans would come in as the driver along with a buyer. But those will come with a custom guard. The guard is already established for customs, so they come with a custom guard who supervises the movement of the buyer and the trucker and then return to the border and then it leaves after having cleared the procedure at the border."

Jules Vasquez, reporter
"But at the same time Belize s Covid free and Guatemala is not. Did we compromise too much to facilitate the very important trade in corn?"

Hon. Beverly Williams
"Well you said it Jules, the trade in corn is important and that is why the protocols were necessary to ensure the safety of the Belizean people. That's the reason for the supervision by the guard. They have to come in and go to the sellers in Spanish Lookout. That will be done under supervision."

We'll see if all goes as planned tomorrow morning. The cost for this will be borne up front by the Guatemalan buyers, but both parties will likely pay when the final price is negotiated.

So there is a cost and some inconvenience, but the western border is now opened for cargo movements, which is expected to rush into Belize tomorrow morning with cement, and steel, and to pick up other items such as corn, citrus pulp and rice husks.

Channel 7

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