On Monday afternoon, the Government of Belize announced that it was easing its blanket restriction of Belizeans to access the Sarstoon River and that those with non political objectives who had genuine business on the river would be allowed to traverse the water with the permission of the BDF stationed at the Forward Operating Base. Government said the decision to allow limited access following the controversial SI was because they ,
“….felt confident that Guatemala would be obliged, under the confidence building measures, to change its stance and negotiate with us over the Sarstoon on the basis of respect for our rights. We believe that we have now obtained objective 2, and we expect formal bilateral negotiations, in which we invite the Opposition to participate as equal partners, to start shortly. As a result, we also believe that the military tensions regarding the Sarstoon are no longer as explosive as they were when we passed the Regulation. “
But while GOB was saying that military tensions are no longer as explosive, according to an article in Prensa Libre published on Sunday ,
“… Caribbean Naval Command and the Marine Brigade conducted exercises to keep guard of the river. “Metal Shark” high speed boats, members of the Navy, and soldiers were deployed in the area to perform maneuvers that are intended to be prepared for any eventuality in the region.”
This morning, a disturbing video of BDF patrol boats being blocked by Guatemalan Armed Forces and subsequently turned back from entering the Belizean side of the Sarstoon, was revealed on PlusTv’s Rise and Shine show. As can be clearly seen, the Guatemalan boat maneuverd itself to block the BDF boat from aces resulting in the BDF turning around and withdrawing from the area. Those opposed to the SI on Sarstoon access say that it emboldens Guatemala in their claim of sovereignty over the entire Sarstoon.