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The Belize Territorial Volunteers led by Wil Maheia and their monitoring of the southern waters and the continued encroachment by illegal Guatemalan fisherfolk has not relented into the New Year. Today Maheia visited media houses to alert Belizeans that the trespassing into our territory continues. According to Maheia, just yesterday he visited the Sarstoon area and discovered that about ten Guatemalans were carrying fishing activities north of the Belize Defense Force Forward Operating Base. Now, if you know your Belizean map, you’ll immediately realise that north of the FOB is very much deep into Belize’s territory.


Screen_Shot_2017-01-05_at_8.06.12_PMWil Maheia - Belize Territorial Volunteers


“Yesterday when I went to the Sarstoon I saw at last ten to twenty Guatemalans not of the Forward Operating Base which clearly means that there are inside Belize’s territory and they were all conducting illegal activities, they were setting nets where the SI according to Belize it would make it illegal, none of these nets are registered and clearly they were from Guatemala, the sad part about this is that all these fishermen had to pass the Forward Operating Base to get into Belize so clearly the laws are just not being enforced Guatemalans continue to operate as if not only the Sarstoon is annex but also from Barranco down because they were very close o Barranco yesterday.”

Maheia said that the illegal activities are a slap to the face of Belizeans, both by Guatemalans and the Belizean authorities who seemingly are allowing the illicit activities to take place.

 

Wil Maheia - Belize Territorial Volunteers


“The fact is that the BDF have a presence there and we get in there, when we get in there the Guatemalans they appear to be leaving and when they think we leave they come right back and all this is in front of the BDF base.”

 

Reporter


“Who has been to speak with them to tell them to leave?”


Wil Maheia - Belize Territorial Volunteers


“Exactly, so I am saying look I understand the BDF situation they are on a border line but at the same time we must be vigilant if we must have Belizeans venturing into Guatemala or crossing the border the Guatemalan arm forces are not going to say oh you are in Guatemala go back instead they are going to arrest and lock us up plus these guys are clearly conducting illegal activities so all we are asking the BDF do their job just like the GAF do their job if we cross into Guatemala we are asking that the fisheries department do their job again I would understand that before the base was built fisheries would be intimidated in going there because of the whole GAF threat and so but now you have the BDF protect the fisheries officers so there is no reason why the fisheries officer can’t do their job.”


Wil Maheia - Belize Territorial Volunteers


“The Guatemalans can have so much product coming right from our waters and sometimes they try to come into Belize and try sell it over there without no license while the average Belizeans have to have a fishing license before they could sale anything commercially, the fisheries law clearly state  that anyone holding a Belize fisheries license must live within the confines of Belize, within the country of Belize and there are so many Guatemalans right now that have Belizean fishing license but still live in Guatemala which is totally illegal the good news is and hopefully this year would be different and we have a different minister now that all those people applying for license because January is the time when they license and hopefully with the new fishing minister that he ensured that there is much more transparency and that these people live in Belize who have a fishing license in Belize.”

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