So Belize’s Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington does not believe the Belize media or anyone who was on the excursion to the Sarstoon Island on Sunday. While the Minister says he awaits a report from the Organization of American States so that government can take a decision as to its next move, he did keep in his usual stance, which is that the Belizean people basically have no business at the Sarstoon as it agitates the so called “good relations” with Guatemala.
He even asserted that the Guatemalans extended courtesy to the Belizean visitors. The Minister’s remarks have without a doubt stirred different levels of emotions not only within Belizeans who were part of the group at the Island but others who have been following the story closely.
It is one thing for the media to just narrate a story without images, but national and local television news outlets were on the excursion as well and captured the images from various angles. The images, it would be hoped, would speak volumes but still the government refuses to acknowledge what transpired at the Sarstoon Island. In last night’s newscast we gave a full account of what transpired on the trip but due to time limitations, we were unable to show you the images as they occurred. The following, provided to us by Plus TV, whose crew was onboard the lead boat manned by Orlando De La Fuente, shows the exchange of words between Belizeans and Guatemalan military personnel as the boat attempted to make its way into the northern channel of the Sartsoon Island. Note that the clip has been edited since some obscene language was used in the exchange.
Carolyn Trench Sandiford, Deputy Party Leader of the People’s United Party was part of the group that visited the Sarstoon Island on Sunday and was in the boat that was first accosted by the Guatemalan military and which subsequently got stuck on the sand bar. In a press conference held this morning by the People’s United Party to speak on the BTV excursion, she recounts the aggression exerted upon the group by the Guatemalan armed forces.
“I was in the boat that the Guatemalan military continue to ram and while they were ramming our boat they were telling us that if we touched their boat that it would be considered an act of aggression and then they the military would have the right to exert force upon us I was there when they spoke of calling for their infantry I was there when Audrey kept saying, adonde esta sus papeles, because they were asking us for our papeles, at all time we were in the portion of the creek near the southern shore of the main land at no time did we stray into Guatemalan territory in fact they were in our territory when the OAS came by we asked the question are we not in our territory and the answered yes at that point in time we were.”
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