Prior to the latest development with the Guatemalans, the Belize Territiorial volunteers had already planned a trek to the Sarstoon while Northern Territiorial Volunteers planned on going to Garbutt Falls monument to commemorate the 157th anniversary of the signing of the 1859 Treaty. Today, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said that these actions, though well intended, are utterly and “terribly misguided” and if those plans were to proceed, would be “utterly unacceptable”.
Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister Belize: In the current circumstances where we just went through an absolutely harrowing weekend, the entire country – all of us sitting at this table where we have come through unscathed and where our diplomacy and face to face meetings with Guatemala have produced this resolve to de-escalate tensions and to find a way rooted in peace and mutual respect forward. In those circumstances, for these people to maintain that they will still go to the sarstoon on Saturday would in my view be absolutely and utterly unacceptable. We now have a forward operating base at the mouth of the river. If they go and the Guatemalans (as the Guatemalans will) seek to intercept them, our people who are there will have to react, hopefully in a way that would not cause the situation to get out of control. But that could potentially provoke just that occurrence. I am appealing to the Territorial Volunteers, give peace a chance.
We spoke to Wil Maheia today who says despite the warnings, the tri on Saturday is still on.
Wil Maheia, Leader, Belize Territorial Volunteers: Like I said the trip is going to leave from Barranco, that’s going to be our staging area. I’m asking everybody to come to Barranco. We want to leave there between 9 and 10 o clock, because I expect so many people there, we will have a peace concert basically to entertain the people because we are moving in boats and we want to be very safe when we go to the Sarstoon. We don’t want to put anybody’s life in jeopardy so we know that there will be a lot of people there so while they are there there will be entertainment for the people who will not board the boat to the sarstoon.
Wil Maheia, Leader, Belize Territorial Volunteers: As far as the press release that was put out saying we’re not giving peace a chance, I don’t know what to say about that but all I know is that all our expeditions are very safe. We totally discourage the use of weapons, in fact nobody brings guns on our expeditions, no one even brings a knife and this time we’re saying you can’t even bring alcohol. This is a peaceful expedition. We have a code of conduct that people have to sign on to so it’s going to be totally peaceful and I expect that people will be there and what happens, this weekend is very important because it is celebrating the 157th anniversary of the signing of our border treaty, that basically means when our borders was established.