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During a press conference this morning, the Belize Progressive Party addressed the latest incident involving the Belize Territorial Volunteers who were denied entry into the Sarstoon River by Guatemalan military over the weekend. Deputy BPP Leader, Will Mejia, who is also BTV leader, responded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs request for the maintenance of Belize’s sovereignty to be left to the professionals. He also addressed what is next for the Belize Territorial Volunteers.

Screen_Shot_2016-03-01_at_7.58.49_PMWill Mejia - Deputy Leader Belize Progressive Party

“Let’s define professionals because if they are professionals to handling it they have been handling this for so long and in my opinion they have continued to mishandle the situation, as long as what we have here 8866 square miles which encompasses the total territorial area of Belize, we will never be told where we can go and where we can’t go, my neighbors had got to play by the rules, the had got to respect our borders, my neighbor who lives next to me I like him but he can’t come in my yard and cut down what tree he want ok and that is the bottom line.”

Mejia denies the allegations made by GOB that the BTV is being confrontational with their trips; he also said that if the government is feeling any pressure they must be aware that what they have seen so far is not the end.

Will Mejia - Deputy Leader Belize Progressive Party

“It’s about to get hotter because we will not be detoured and combative I don’t think we are combative, no weapons not even a machete was on our boat when we went, you know I don’t think we go there in a combative mode, we go there because as Belizeans I believe that every Belizean has the right to move in any part of this country and our border line according to the 1859 treaty states that our border is at the mid-point deepest point of the Sarstoon river including the Sarstoon Island so I don’t think we are combative and I don’t think that we are that type of organization that promote violence, I have never ever taken any weapon with me on any of our expeditions when we did the three or four day expedition into the Columbia forest we do take maybe a shotgun or you know you can’t I can hunt that man he can’t take his gun but I don’t and those guys they don’t take it to try and fight off Guatemalans maybe they will shoot a gay meat or something like that but it is nothing combative or anything like that.”

As for the request for Mejia to stand down, he says he must first see actions done before he considers that action.

Will Mejia - Deputy Leader Belize Progressive Party

“I believe that there will be some points where we will consider that but let’s first we call on our Ambassador alright lets have some serious dialogue don’t let be the Guatemala who will be in control of the debate or in control of the negotiation, let show the Belizean people that we are serious about not giving away an inch of our country, to me I have not seen that when I see them saying look I am not going to any inauguration you have in Guatemala until my Belizean people could move freely into our country, I am not going to attend another meeting with you or I am not going to put back my Ambassador there until you understand that our Belizeans could traverse the Sarstoon River and any part of the world from we know from 1859, then I’ll say you know what government is like really doing their job I’ll stand back and we will wait and we will support the government so it is not working, we have to stand up for this country and the minute we shut up which they would like us to do.”

In the meantime, the BPP’s Secretary General, Hipolito Bautista, suggested that they may be holding a demonstration on the latest Sarstoon faceoff.

Hiolito Bautista – Secretary Belize Progressive Party

“What we find in Belize for the last few weeks especially is that there is a lack of will power, there is a lack of commitment, there is a lack of initiative, well we are going to take up that initiative we are seriously discussing right now demonstration, a picketing call it what you may of the National Assembly with respect to what has happened to us in the Sarstoon, and when I say us I don’t mean the BPP only I mean Belize the young people, the mothers, the old people, I know that there are some people who are pretty concern about our National Anthem for example and it says from the Rio Hondo to the old Sarstoon, if we lose the Sarstoon that is going to through us terribly in a confused mind that I cannot describe to you as yet.”

Mejia says that upon their return to the Sarstoon, they expect to see many more Belizeans join the expedition. He added that the response of the Government of Belize only gives them reason to be uncertain of their actions because there appears to be no intention to internationalize the aggression of the Guatemalans in the Sarstoon.

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