Last week the Belize Territorial Volunteers, BTV, sent out a press release calling on all Belizeans to come out to the Sarstoon island on Sunday August 16th where they will have a planned patriotic rally. The press release said and we quote, “The public is hereby invited to a rally at the historic sarstoon Island on August 16th 2015, in commemoration of the 1859 Boundary Convention between the Republic of Guatemala and Her Majesty. All Belizeans are invited to join together in taking a stand against Guatemala’s aggressions and threats of territorial claims.” The call to this rally came in the face of a diplomatic make up between Ministers of Foreign Affairs from both Belize and Guatemala after there was disagreement surrounding the construction of a forwarding operating base on the Sarstoon island. In a phone interview earlier today BDF Commander Brigadier General David Jones expressed his outright disagreement with the decision of the BTV to hold this rally.
(Via Phone) ” I don’t think it is a good idea because there is a territorial dispute between two countries and it is better that issue is handed diplomatically instead of having either civilians or military aggravating the situation there at the island. The island in question, as far as Belize is concerned and the BDF are concerned is Belizean territory. However, that island in particular, as far as the Guatemalans are concerned is their territory. Such a dispute like that, it does not make sense to aggravate a situation. It is better to let the diplomats deal with it and not have a situation that can escalate into military incident or a military conflict. That is what is going to be aggravated there. As far as they are concerned, it is their territory and it is best not to have law enforcements deal with it but let the diplomats deal with it. We believe that is the best way.”
Brigadier General Jones advised the leaders of the group not to be hasty and invited them to have a sit down with himself to discuss this situation.
Brig. Gen. David Jones
“I would love to advise them not to venture into such activity. They can come and sit down with us, and I would sit down with them on any time and explain to them what our views are in regards to what is happening, not only in the area of the Starstoon but also along the western boarder that we work along with the Guatemalan Armed Forces. I understand their patriotism and I applaud it, but I believe there are better ways to express their patriotism than trying to aggravate a situation along the border with two neighboring countries that have been in dispute in regards to the border and the territory for over 150 years. I do not believe that this will help the situation.”
The visit to the Sarstoon Island is scheduled for August 16th. Boats will be leaving the dock at Punta Gorda at 9 am.