Leader of the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP), Francis Fonseca, and his colleagues had much to say in Thursday’s meeting of the House of Representatives, on the matter of border security in the wake of the killing of Special Constable Danny Conorquie.
As with developments of armed incursions on Friday, Mr Fonseca told reporters on Monday in Belize City, that the Government must take a tougher stance on this and other critical issues with regard to border security.
Francis Fonseca – Leader of the People’s United Party
” I think our Government now has to take a very strong, a very clear, position with the Guatemalan authorities to say listen, we do not want any confrontation. We do not want any accidents to happen on the border. We certainly don’t want our security forces to be placed in a position where they are forced to use force against any Guatemalan citizens. Obviously we do not want that.
But they have a responsibility to ensure that their citizens know when they are crossing into Belizean territory, and they have to explain very clearly to their citizens that they are not to be engaging in illegal activities on Belizean territory.”
Francis Fonseca further stated in regard to the news of Guatemalan contractors building the Coast Guard base at Hunting Caye in the Sapodilla Range in Toledo, that he was not satisfied by the responses of the Prime Minister and Minister of National Security John Saldivar. Heads must roll for their apparent ignorance, he maintains.
“I was not at all satisfied by either of them. I said it this morning that it’s not too late for them to correct this matter. We’re not a beggar nation.
We’re not being hysterical about Guatemala. We know that we want better relations with Guatemala, and we know that Guatemalan companies do a lot of business in Belize. That’s a reality. But when it comes to our national security, we have to draw the line.
There should be no company representing a country which claims Belize doing work for our National Security Ministry, though you work for our Government, building security facilities like this Forward Operating Base, and I understand there have been other projects as well. There is absolutely no excuse for that.”
Even as the Guatemalans are misinforming their own people about the unfounded claim to Belizean territory, we too, he says, must educate our people about the truth.
“There are many things that we have to be doing. We have to be more aggressive. I think we have been very laid back, which is our nature. We’re peaceful people, which is good, and we want always to pursue a peaceful path to solutions to any of our problems, whether bit be with Guatemala or anybody else. We always want to pursue a peaceful solution.
But I think the fundamental point that we’re understanding in 2012, 2013, 2014 and beyond, is that we’re in a new normal, as they say, a new era, where we have to be prepared to protect and defend our interests.”
Francis Fonseca also told us that while the PUP did not sponsor Friday’s demonstration in front of the Guatemalan Embassy on A Street, King’s Park, Belize City, led by political officer Gilroy Usher Sr., and it does not condone the throwing of eggs by the participants, it does support the expression of popular outrage that it represents.
“He was trying to send a very fair and strong message of frustration about this very important issue, and I think his actions, and the actions of those were along with him, reflected the mood of the people at this time. People are very outraged at what has taken place.
We want good relations with Guatemala. We want to resolve the claim peacefully, and we want to engage economically with Guatemala, but at the same time we have to stand up for our country, our citizens, and make sure that we are taking a very strong position, in support of our territorial integrity.”