PM says Guat Foreign Minister “misspoke” over bases

On Sunday , Prime Minister Dean Barrow acknowledged that the Guatemalan Foreign Minister’s statement was in fact made in error. But what was apparently more important to the PM was that Guatemala had acquiesed to the construction. He told us more.

Prime Minister Dean Barrowvlcsnap-2015-08-11-09h57m08s237
“I completely accept that he misspoke and I think he does too. The records are there and it is a fact that there is not that kind of language. I also understood him to say though that he accepts as well that what we mean to do with the forward operating base is not to be viewed by them as any kind of a threat. This is for purposes of our internal security arrangements and indeed we invite them to coordinate with us so that the illegal fishing and other illegal activities that clearly take place in the area might be more effectively interdicted.”

The Prime Minister expects that one more major hurdle must be cleared before construction can begin.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Look, the Americans in particular who have this overriding interest in Central America security, and especially in the trafficking in drugs are aboard. Are very much aware of what we wish to do and supportive and I believe at the military level, there is understanding on the part of the Guatemalan officials. Now at the political level, it seems to me that there is also agreement and so we will proceed.”

Reporter

“Sir, as the Minister of Finance can you give us a timeline as to when that base will be built?”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“No.  I haven’t yet been approached for the funds and I believe that especially because, as I understand it, there is now this willingness on the part of the Guatemalans to collaborate with Belize in the same way as on land there are linkups, joint patrols, that sort of thing because there is now that willingness which has been formally expressed, I think it might take a little while longer for them to workout, the two countries.  The logistics of the exercises that will take place in the area so I can’t really give a timeline.”

And regarding activity in the area generally, the P.M. says nobody can tell Belize what to do, not even Guatemala.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“In talking to the group of friends, people will always advise caution, accepting that Belize is sovereign over her territory. But people will always say if you are going to do anything leading to an increase military presence in the border areas, as a matter of good sense and as a matter of committee you let your neighbors know that this is happening, so that there can be no misunderstanding. But I don’t know of any friendly country that has ever come close to saying to us you absolutely should not do what you think you need to do with respect to your security.”

It appears this puts the matter to rest for now.

 

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