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The aggression that rangers from SATIM suffered yesterday at the hands of Guatemalan Armed Forces while patrolling the Sarstoon-Temash National Park, on the South of the Sarstoon River continues to make headlines tonight.

As is reported the rangers were on their routine patrol when they were stopped by a Guatemalan naval vessel. The Guatemalan Authorities, in a very aggressive manner, told the rangers that they had breached the new protocol which indicates that any Belizean entering the Sarstoon must get permission from the Guatemalans at their base.

The encounter prompted the Executive Director of SATIM to fire off a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs demanding to know which protocol the rangers had breached since in all its years of patrolling the area it was the first time that rangers were told they had to receive permission from the Guatemalan forces.

This recent incident ads to the already long list of incidences of aggression suffered by Belizeans at the Sarstoon. But apparently it is another encounter that the Prime Minister is not surprised of and plans to resolve with another protest note.

Screen_Shot_2016-04-07_at_8.12.01_PMRt. Honorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize

“All I will say is that I am not surprised we’ve said to the public that the Guatemalans are clearly taking a new and absolutely aggressive stands with respect to the Sarstoon, we have to continue to maintain that we are sovereign over our portion of the Sarstoon and that therefore if the documentation offered by the Sarstoon is accurate that what the Guatemalan have done is wrong and we must protest it diplomatically, we cannot allow for any suggestion to rise that we are sleeping on our rights but of course how do we assert those rights by protesting, by letting the International Community know and by trying finally to engage the Guatemalan so that we might be able to work out some sort of protocol. There was to have been a  meeting tomorrow between our two Foreign Ministers with the Leader of the Opposition Representative as part of the Belize team but the two Foreign Ministers principally and the two Generals from GAF and BDF, that meeting had to be put up because the two Generals are attending a Forum or Conference that I think that the US is sponsoring and is part of the whole Central American security picture but I expect that that meeting will be able to occur perhaps next week not too long from the postponed date of tomorrow it give me a chance to say again that in terms of this sort of an issue we keep our friends the Americans completely briefed and we know that they have to play the role of an honest broker.”

But if the Guatemalans believe that their tactics of aggression will push Belize into relinquishing a piece of the jewel…..they can think again says Prime Minister Dean Barrow.

Rt. Honorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize

“I think they have fooled themselves into genuinely believing or have convinced themselves that the Sarstoon is theirs they are obsoletely wrongheaded and the weight of the evidence is overwhelmingly against them but they can’t be doing this simply as a kind of ICJ tactic because that would fail, we just as much as they continue to assert us so there will not be any kind of omission or slippage on our part that would allow them to say well see in effect Belize kind of de facto conceded that our sovereignty no so if that is the thinking they would get nowhere and these people are far less sophisticated to think or to ever imagine that something like that would work.”

As for the meeting to discuss protocols that will be set in place when it comes to traversing the area of the Sarstoon River, it should happen next week.

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