Going back to the issue of the long standing territorial dispute and what took place over the weekend when Guatemalan authorities inside Belizean waters prevented a BTV expedition of 20 from passing through the Sarstoon River, today the People’s United Party issued a release where they are condemning the words of Guatemalan Foreign Minister, Carlos Raul Morales, who claimed the Sarstoon River in its entirety as Guatemalan territory via a press release issued to Guatemalan media on Saturday February 27th, calling his words “False and provocative.”
The opposition has also called on the Government of Belize to carry out a series of actions in response with the incident that occurred at the mouth of the Sarstoon on Saturday. Eamon Courtenay, a member of the PUP’s recently established Belize-Guatemala Advisory Committee spoke on the recommendations from the Opposition.
“In the first step is for the government to reassert in clear terms the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Belize, I think it needs to be made clear to Guatemala and to the International community that what Guatemala has done and what they did is a violation of our territorial integrity and sovereignty, it seems to us that and as what we have said in our press release we have called on our Ambassador to be recalled from Guatemala for consultation, it is a clear signal to the Guatemalans we find this to be a very grave infraction we also believe that it is important that a meeting be held at the ministerial level, at the Organizational of American States in order to reduce tensions obviously the objective would be to have confidence building measures to be applicable to the Sarstoon in order to avoid any incident like this in the future but meeting will have to be previous on the respect by Guatemala for Belize’s borders and there should be absolutely no mistake about that.”
Courtenay also spoke to the actual violations committed by the Guatemalan military Saturday.
“Frist of all no military vessel is allowed to come in to our territorial waters at all and our property without our permission and as far as I understand the Guatemalan military and navy had no such permission so that is one violation, secondly, it seems to us to stop for a foreign military force to stop a Belizean in Belizean territorial from going into any part of Belize is a violation of our sovereignty, that is a clear violation of international law, Guatemalan navy has no legal authority to do anything within Belizean territorial waters these are very serious violations of international law and we should not accept it, we should not tolerate it and we are urging the government to take very strong actions so that the Guatemalans can understand it, it seems to me that Guatemala by choice has embarked on a course where an incident is going to take place we believe that that incidents are to be avoided but at the same time we believe that the government of Belize should be strong and steadfast and we should get our friends to communicate straight to Guatemala that they are in the wrong and we are in the right.”
The PUP National Executive approved the appointment of a Belize Guatemala Advisory Committee late last week comprising of the Hon. Said Musa as Chairman, Assad Shoman, Godfrey Smith, Lisa Shoman and Eamon Courtenay.
“The Party Leader Honorable John Briceno has taken to the National Executive at its meeting last week Thursday his proposal for the appointment of a committee chaired by the former Prime Minister, Said Musa of all former foreign ministers of the PUP who are alive and the National Executive approved that so Honorable Said Musa will chair that committee the other members are as expect Godfrey Smith, myself, Lisa Showman and Assad Showman. Our function is to advise the Party on Belize/Guatemala matters that has to do with the full range of things and I know for a fact that Honorable Said Musa was consulted over the weekend on the developments and the release that was put out today, all the members of the committee was consulted before it was put out so our responsibility is to advise the leadership of the party on the entire Belize/Guatemala issues.”
According to their release the PUP is ready to play a leading role in a new national effort to defend Belize’s national interests.
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