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Saturday April 30th is the day set out by the Belize Territorial Volunteers to journey to the border at the mouth of the Sarstoon River in commemoration of the 157th anniversary of the signing of the 1859 Treaty between the governments of the UK and recognized the border between Belize and Guatemala.

Today during the press conference to discuss the incident that occurred on Wednesday in the Chiquibul where a Guatemalan minor lost his life, Prime Minister Right Honorable Dean Barrow ardently pleaded with the Belize Territorial Volunteers not to return to the Sarstoon Island until the government has developed with their Guatemalan counterparts, a Peace protocol for that area.

Screen_Shot_2016-04-25_at_8.25.48_PMRt. Honorable Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize

In the current circumstances where we just went through an absolutely harrowing weekend the entire country all of us sitting at this table where we have come through on skid and where our diplomacy and the face to face meetings with Guatemala have produced this resolved to de-escalations tensions and to find a way rooted in peace and mutual respect forward, in those circumstances for these people to maintain that they will still go to the Sarstoon on Saturday would in my view be absolutely and utterly unacceptable.”

PM also reiterated his position in saying that although the BTV may be acting out of a sense of patriotism, he believes that in this circumstance going to the Sarstoon on Saturday is misguided as the BTV would not only be putting themselves in danger but also our law enforcing body.

Rt. Honorable Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize

“If they go and the Guatemalans, as the Guatemalans will seek to intercept them our people who are there will have to react hopefully in a way that would not cause the situation to get out of control but that could potentially provoke that just occurrence, the Territorial Volunteers would then not just have put their own lives at risk but the lives of the Belizean security personnel, I am saying that there is a commitment from the part of the Guatemalans.”

Brigadier General David Jones, Commander of the Belize Defense Force, today also asked BTV to abstain from making the trip and to allow GOB and the BDF to work along with Guatemala to come up with a protocol for the area.

Brigadier General David Jones, Commander of the Belize Defense Force

“It’s going to cause more friction in the area because they will want to exercise their sovereignty by stopping our civilians by going in there, we will want to exercise our sovereignty by defending our civilians from going in there and that is why I have cautioned, the government has cautioned don’t add additional concerns in the area by having our civilians there because if we intent to defend our civilians and they intend to enforce their position it could resolve in an exchange of gun fire in the area, that is not going to serve any of our country’s any better it is going to be adverse, it is not going to be something that our Belizean people like to live under because we’ve been in peace in this area for the most part out of conflict, military conflict, it could escalate to more than that so we continue to caution our civilians not to go in there.”

Prime Minister Dean Barrow also made mention that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Belize Defense Force will meet with the BTV to discuss the matter.

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