Though the Government of Belize enacted legislation in the form of a Statutory Instrument sometime between late Thursday night and Friday morning to prevent the Belize Territorial Volunteers from going to the Sarstoon, it was another maneuver by the Coast guard, acting upon instructions from the political directorate that stopped the expedition in its tracks. The Coast Guard said they found the vessels to be unseaworthy when upon inspection they identified various infractions by the boat captains. Infractions included lack of fire extinguishers, life jackets, certificates etc and hence they did not allow the boats to sail. On the Rise and Shine Morning Show today, BTV leader Wil Mehia responded to the Coast Guard findings.
Wil Maheia, Leader of the BTV: The didn’t even give us a chance to get to the boat. Before we got to the boat, the boat was taken away by the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard boarded the boat in Barranco and took it away. Now, we have pictures. You can go there and ask Tide and SATIM, they both gave us lifejackets, so lifejackets like they were saying was not a problem. It was not in the boat when the Coast Guard looked in the boat but we were not in the boat yet. I had the lifejackets because I brought it by road so that we could take it to the dock. You can call TIDE and SATIM right now, we got lifejackets from them because there was going to be more people than usual in the boat so we would need extra lifejackets. I held on to them so I could give people as they were going to board the boat. Unfortunately we did not get a chance to board the boat and they said the boat did not have lifejackets on them, well it didn’t have lifejackets because the people were not on the boat as yet. Secondly. You will hear right there when the police officer said, “Look, you are not coming on this dock. I have no more comments. I’m just telling you no one can come on this dock because this dock is not a safe dock” Yet 30 of them were standing on the dock and 3 of their vessels were tied up to the dock and he’s that it’s not a safe dock. And he’s saying that that’s all he will say. And that’s right there in the footage. It’s not a safe dock for the BTV. So right there was when they prevented us from heading South.
But the accusations do not end there. Mehia says that the captains of the boats were also detained and taken away by the security officers, but when he went to check on them to find out what was the issue, he could not find them at the Police station where they should have been taken.
Wil Maheia, Leader of the BTV: Thirdly. Just to back up there what you are saying with some more evidence. When they detained the boat captain, they took them away. So naturally, you would take somebody that you detained to the police station. I personally went to the police station and I told them that I’m looking for the boat captains that were detained. All the police looked at me and said, “Boat captains? We don’t know.” And so I asked them are you telling me then that the boat captains are not here in the station? “No we don’t have any of them here.” “Where are they?” “We don’t know.” They took them and hid them in a different location.