P.M. claims Progress made on Sarstoon

Belize remains on tenterhooks for a solution to the Sarstoon. In the more than 30 days since the lifting of the Public Safety Act Regulations-Sarstoon Order, several media houses have visited the area with mixed results. But Prime Minister Dean Barrow cites the regression of Guatemala’s aggressive behaviour with each visit to claim that progress has been made on the ground – though he allowed caution until Guatemala has agreed with Belize in writing:

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize

“My expectation as a consequence of that meeting was that our people would be able to traffic the Sarstoon unimpeded. Now the vlcsnap-2016-06-30-16h50m17s322Guatemalans have not formally said this and therefore I have to be careful not to attribute anything to them that is not an official position. The proof of the pudding is in the eating and as far as I know since that meeting people have gone without hindrance, so I have to consider that progress. For a while now there has been no problem for our soldiers going up what we consider to be our side of the Sarstoon to replenish the people and to do work at Cadena. To repeat we cannot rest content until we get a commitment in writing and a formal protocol that is agreed and disclosed to all the world. In terms of what is taking place internally, so far so good and I repeat that there has been progress.”

 P.M. Barrow states in the case of Channel 5’s second visit when they were chased out of the area, the Guatemalans subsequently questioned why the media crew filmed their Forward Operating Base and appeared not to have life vests in the boat, but the complaint has not gone anywhere since. Concerning the PUP’s pullout from Sarstoon negotiations, the Prime Minister offered his regrets and an olive branch

 

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize

“Indeed and so there was until they pulled out. It’s a matter of great regret to me but no one informed me. I just hear from CEO Sylvester from one day to the next that the leader of the opposition had called his to say that the leader had not accompany the Belize side to Washington. That’s as far as I know. This matter is so important that I would be extremely pleased if they were to reconsider. This is something that we shouldn’t play politics with and I will not voice any suspicions.”

Prime Minister Barrow also today confirmed Government’s intention to amend the Referendum Act. According to him it is a response to pressure from the “Friends of Belize” to get going on the referendum to take the Belize-Guatemala dispute to the ICJ:

 

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize

“We certainly have the intention of amending the referendum act to remove that high thresh hole. I believe the Foreign Minister has indicated that the International Community have been so forth coming in helping to fund the OAS office in the Adjacency Zone and the OAS presence in Belize. That group is getting a little bit impatient and they feel that not enough progress is being made with respect to the Referendum and try as we might in telling them that it’s not our fault. We are ready to go whenever. They do point to the fact of this high view as abnormal thresh hole in terms of our law. It is their feeling that will make it next to impossible or that any vote on that basis will be a fear vote in terms of the international accepted standards. I see merit in the argument when the opposition did appear to be desirous of a united front with us I’m sure that I hear various personalities say that they also share that view. Long story short, we are prepared to make a change but there is no way that we can make such a change while the matter of Sarstoon is still outstanding.”

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