BDF presence at border areas

On Thursday June 21st, we told you that Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of National Security visited Dolores Village in Southern Belize to meet with Mayan Leaders to discuss border incursion concerns. The meeting was organized after the villages of Otoxha and Dolores asked for BDF assistance in clearing the border between Guatemala and Belize. In late May, BDF personnel were sent into the Otoxha community to investigate incursion reports. Then in June, Prime

Minister Dean Barrow told the media that increased BDF patrol in these southern borderline communities will be a standing feature going forward. According to BDF Commander Steven Ortega, while BDF personnel have not been assisting in clearing the borders, patrols along the borders continue.

BDF Commander Steven Ortega: We’re still conducting patrols there and we have discovered some clearings where they’ve actually slashed parts of the jungle and some cut lines, but we haven’t seen anything further up to now. What we have done with the villagers from Oxtoxa and Dolores, if you remember, some months ago, our minister went down and had a meeting with the villagers and the Alcalde association down there. They were supposed to do a follow up meeting, however, they have asked for an extension, and that is what we’re waiting for while they were supposed to produce some stuff for us.

Reporter: They had been asking for accompaniment from the BDF to clear the border line.

BDF Commander Steven Ortega: Well they’ve asked for that but we’re not doing that, we’re doing patrols in the area as to what we normally do to protect our sovereignty.

Then there have been those reports of Guatemalan incursions in the Chiquibul earlier this year as well. Ortega says that the BDF are trying to cover all the areas that need covering to stop illegal border activities

BDF Commander Steven Ortega: Well if you notice, we just set up a Sevada CP and there are plans to do some more, so we are trying to, as much as possible, trying to cover all the areas that needs covering to ensure that we protect what is ours.

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