The man who has been previously blamed for stirring up trouble with our Guatemalan neighbors, Wil Maheia, was exonerated of sorts at today’s event when the Minister of National Security, as you heard earlier in this newscast, thanked the BTV for their bravery and patriotism. Maheia was present at today’s event and was asked first of all for his thoughts onteh Forward Operating Base itself.
Wil Maheia, Leader BTV: First of all we got to applaud the government for putting up the base, I mean it’s strategically located and I think it’s a really good base but at the same time we cannot just have a base out here without enforcing their regulations. Clearly when coming in here we still saw a lot of signs on gillnetting taking place and I would hope that after the base in officially opened today that the enforcement agencies will do their job. I’m glad to see the fisheries department out here today, it’s the first time I’ve seen them in the area and I hope that they continue to come here and enforce the fishing laws. What we see right here at the Sarstoon Island, Guatemalan aggression and I can’t understand why is it that we would continue to allow armed Guatemalan military people to be inside Belize’s territory fully armed. It’s open right there for everyone to see, they are on the north side of the Sartsoon Island, they’re very close to the Sarstoon Island, and the Minister has said in his opening remarks that the Sarstoon Island clearly belongs to Belize and clearly it’s part of Belize so in that aspect, they kind of ruined the day, what could have been a great day but the Guatemalan continue to agitate. They talk about the BTV agitating the Guatemalans; I think the proof is in the pudding right now. People will see for themselves that it’s not the Territorial Volunteers that are aggravating the Guatemalans, but the Guatemalans are just being bullies.
As we said, the Minsiter thanked the BTV but said that they now need to leave the policing of the area to the Governemnt and the military. Wil responded to thse comments.
Wil Maheia, Leader-BT: Well I don’t think that we can leave it to them right now. We have to be vigilant, we have to continue to stay on Belize’s Border because as it is now he’s leaving it to them or leaving it to the military, but clearly we have Guatemalan armed forces personnel within a few feet of this newly built Forward operating Base clearly in violation of Belize laws and National Laws, and I hope that something will be done. We have to put Guatemala in check, we have to hold them in check because if they could come here and bully us like that, then their fishermen will also think that they have the right to do whatever they want.