BTV blocked by Guatemalan army boats in Belizean waters

The Belize Territorial Volunteers, despite disapproval from Ministry of Foreign affairs, ventured to the apparently controversial Belizean territory on the Sarstoon on Saturday February 27. The plan was to travel to the Gracias Adios Border Marker as a commemoration to last year’s event when thirty seven Belizeans were detained by Guatemalan armed forces and taken to Livingston against their will.  While on the waters in Saturday, Mehia told the media more about the purpose of the trip. However, the group led by Wil Meheia, never even made it to the Sarstoon River because blocking their way were four Guatemalan navy boats filled with armed men. According to those on the trip, the Guatemalan military were clearly in Belizean waters and blocked access to the Forward operating base being built by the Belizean Government . The BTV followed the advice of het boat captain and did not proceed towards the base. Mehia said it would be best not to take the chance of having the Guatemalan armed forces take the opportunity to  force the Belizeans on to  their side of the border and perhaps have another opportunity to detain this year’s set of  travelers. Even so, Mehia says that Belizeans should not give up on claiming what is theirs.  Prior to the trip, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had issued a public advisory saying that the undertaking of the trip was “…imprudent and potentially dangerous for the organizers of excursions of this type to expose innocent Belizeans to the risk of inadvertently coming into conflict with Guatemalans be they civilians or officials. “  On Monday, following the trip, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued another statement, this time describing the actions of the Guatemalan military as a “state of alertness”. The release says, that  “…Belize’s security forces witnessed on Saturday, 27th February, 2016 an increased state of alertness by the Guatemalan Armed Forces in the Sarstoon River who appeared intent on blocking entry of Belizean civilians into the Sarstoon River from the Bay of Honduras. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will raise its concern with the Republic of Guatemala and the Organization of American States on this matter, and will continue to actively seek the adoption of confidence building measures for the area, pending a definitive resolution of the dispute arising from Guatemala’s claims.” But the Opposition People’s United Party wants more, as we hear from Eamon Courtenay, a member of the PUP’s recently established Belize-Guatemala Advisory Committee on those recommendations from the Opposition:  Courtenay also spoke to the actual violations committed by the Guatemalan military Saturday:vlcsnap-2016-03-01-09h51m34s566 vlcsnap-2016-03-01-09h52m00s393 vlcsnap-2016-03-01-09h52m16s654 vlcsnap-2016-03-01-09h52m36s491

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