Screen_Shot_2015-08-18_at_8.48.01_PMAn article from the Amandala Newspaper is tonight raising eyebrows and causing great concern in the public domain. That is because the article entitled “I don’t believe the Belize Media” quotes the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Attorney General Hon. Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington stating that there is no evidence to suggest that the Guatemalan navy harassed Belizeans in our territorial waters on Sunday’s expedition.


As you might recall those heading the expedition have stated that Guatemalan authorities entered Belizean waters and tried to block them from reaching closer to the Sarstoon Island. All this was witnessed by representatives of the OAS and captured by the cameras of various media houses including ours.


When questioned by the Amandala reporter about the issue Elrington stated and we quote, “Fortunately, we had taken the precaution of having the OAS people present, and they are going to do a report on it, and as soon as we get the report, depending on what it consists of, we are going to take a decision”, end quote. And while several media personnel had the same version of events that indeed there was a brief and tense encounter with Guatemalan authorities, Elrington states, “I am saying to you that I do not take the word of the media as gospel. I prefer to take the word of an impartial third party, participant or witness. When we receive word from that third party or participant, the government is going to take whatever steps is necessary.” End quote.


Amandala also asked Elrington if the government would also lodge a protest at the United Nations, but he said, “We are not dealing at this level with the United Nations. We don’t have a Belize/Guatemala dispute; we have an agreement to take the matter to the International Court of Justice, subject to a referendum.”


Elrington further said that what the Belizean people don’t understand is that this situation can have negative repercussions for the entire region. He stated and we quote, “It is for that reason that the entire region authorized the OAS Secretariat to monitor it. We seem to be the only people who don’t seem to understand the danger we are in, under the misguided idea of patriotism, and sovereignty. There’s a limit to both of them. To want to go and tangle with a country that is so big, you got to be idiotic,” he remarked.


When asked why is the government so adamantly opposed to the Belize Territorial Volunteers’ efforts to demarcate the borders between the two countries, Elrington responded and we quote “You don’t demarcate borders like that by a country of 14 million people; you have to be an idiot,” end quote.


According to Elrington in 1981, Belize gained its independence with all of its territory intact as recognized by the 1859 treaty, but by 1991, Belize gave away 9 miles of sea to Guatemala in the southern part of the country under a misguided thing called the Maritime Areas Act and on Sunday it was the Guatemalans who extended courtesy to the BTV and allowed 3 of 4 of their boats to go around the island.


We’ll have reactions from the volunteers on these statements in our subsequent newscast.

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