We have been reporting on the increased encroachment by Guatemalan in Belizean territory. Several weeks ago reports out of the Chiquibul reserve indicated that Guatemalan citizens were farming in the area. Last week further reports of Guatemalan encroachment in Belizean territory came out of Southern Belize. As a result, The Ministry of National Security issued a press release stating that BDF personnel would be sent in the area to investigate. During his press conference, Opposition Leader Johhny Briceno called on the Goverenment of Belize to take the necessary actions that will ensure the protection of Belizean territory
Johhny Briceno, Leader of the Opposition: As it relates to our dispute with Guatemala let me express my disappointment in the fact that there is still no agreement on a protocol or a mechanism to govern movements along the Sarstoon River. Guatemalan authorities are in violation of our territorial integrity and our laws when they continue to stop our people from freely traversing our portion of the river. We believe these actions are not in the spirit of building confidence. We call on the government to keep insisting that Guatemala agree to a modus vivendi as it relates to the Sarstoon. We are even more concerned over reports of illegal farming by Guatemalans on our side of the border in the areas of Dolores and Otoxha. The chairman of Otoxha has made a report, and I call on the government to send in the B.D.F. to investigate and proceed without hesitation to dismantle any illegal farms or crops in accordance with Annex B of the framework agreement on confidence building measures. It is our responsibility to exercise our full territorial integrity over our land. Now is not the time for us to be turning a blind eye to any illegal activity along our borders with Guatemala.