For: Press Release
Date: April 26, 2019
Topic: Sarstoon River Visit (BPF Anniversary)
The Sarstoon River and Island are very important and strategic military points for our country. Given the present global, regional and local political environments it is imperative that citizens hold their governments to complete transparency and dialogue.
Belizeans have a right to know what could be the reasoning behind the Guatemalan Armed Forces (GAF) position to keep intercepting and blocking the access to the Sarstoon Island at points well inside our borders. Anyone who has visited the area on any occasion knows that it is never smooth sailing. The last time I went, one of the commanding GAF officers told us we need to follow, “established protocol” in Spanish, “hay que seguir el protocolo”. When questioned, our politicians in Belize deny having established any protocol …but yet for our safety we must now report to the coast guard and have them escort us.
If there is no special protocol that we have agreed to with Guatemala, then established International Protocols should be the norm, where the deepest point of a navigable channel is considered the border, when two countries are separated by a river. Guatemala practices this with the natural border it shares with Mexico in the Usumacinta, Salinas and Suchiate Rivers.
The only solution being offered to the Belizean public on these matters, is that of the going to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) by way of voting for this in a referendum that is unconstitutional in its origins. Our lack of assertive diplomacy in the Sarstoon, the incursion in the Chiquibul, the Special Agreement, the Confidence Building Measures, have all but weakened our position internationally as it relates to the Guatemalan Claim; yet we are being led to believe that going to an ICJ will resolve all that, and leave our sovereignty intact. The referendum process has morphed and battered and been molded into a constitutional and politically forced form of democracy. There are at least eight (8) breaches of constitutional irregularities being called to question, many stemming from the Special Agreement created and put on official print by the People’s United Party (PUP) and then carried out by the United Democratic Party (UDP). The PUP has proceeded with the biggest charade yet…to take the UDP government to court on one of these irregularities for an agreement that they masterminded.
As the Leader of the Belize People’s Front, a democratic populist movement, I want to know what protocols I must follow to visit our Sarstoon Island? Is it still ours? If so, I want to place our Belizean Flag there. I intend to go and do this myself. I will be sending an official letter of my intentions to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to the Ministry of Defense. I am hoping they will have the decency to reply but reply or not, I plan on walking on Belize’s Sarstoon Island before the end of this month. Belizeans demand and deserve to know the truth!
Nefretery Nancy Marin
The Belize People’s Front