Topic: Letter to Hon. John Saldivar
For: Media Houses
Date: April 16, 2019
Honorable John Saldivar
Minister of National Security
Dear Mr. Saldivar,
I write to you as a concerned citizen and as the Leader of the Belize People’s Front, (a populist movement) and on behalf of the members of our party and the citizens in general.
As Belizean citizens, we have a right to traverse the length and breadth of our country. It is also symbolic that the 1859 Treaty that defined our borders is being disrespected by the Guatemalan armed forces, by denying Belizeans access to the Sarstoon River, the natural border between our countries. In this regard, I ask:
- Are there any protocols that we have with Guatemala that we need to know of or respect?
- Do we still own Sarstoon Island?
Your direct response will be much appreciated.
I ask this because it is our intent to take some Belizeans to this part of Belize that they have never visited before. I ask that we have the presence of the Belize Coast Guard to provide the security that Belizeans have come to expect from them. Our visit is planned for April 30th, 2019. This will be a peaceful visit to the island and have patriotic Belizeans visit the island in dispute so that they may have a better understanding of all that encompasses Belize.
We believe that the Sarstoon Island is an important and strategic location, as is the ability to traverse this unimpeded. We are cognizant of the fact that the Guatemalan Armed Forces (GAF) are of the opinion that they “own” the river and tries to deny us access. If they are led to believe they “own” the river, then by extension, they would have ownership to the Island. We are encouraged when our men in uniform stand their ground and maintain our right to free access to the river and island and are a national pride for us to maintain this as a sovereign part of Belize, accessible for all Belizeans.
Again, if there is no protocol in place, then the International Protocol should stand, whereas you rightly stated in your release, that the midpoint of the Sarstoon River should be accessible to both the military and civilians alike. I thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.
Nefretery Nancy Marin