BELIZE CITY–Last week, we told you of reports of expanding incursions by Guatemalans into Belize, including survey lines being pegged as many as 5 miles inland and the construction of 9 dwellings inside the Chiquibul National Park.
On Friday, we asked Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who is also head of the National Security Council of Belize, what his administration will do about the worsening problem on the border.
“That’s a continuing problem which we continue to go at. There is clearly a need for increased collaboration on the part of the BDF [the Belize Defence Force] with the FCD [Friends for Conservation and Development]. Last year, I had indicated that Government was prepared to fund a number of new conservation posts. Not one has been built. I’ve asked the BDF what is taking so long…” Barrow said.
He said that it appears there was difficulty coordinating between the FCD and BDF, but that problem was eventually sorted out and the parties were able to agree on the location of the new conservation posts.
The Prime Minister said that they’ve presented him with a couple of bids, in terms of getting structures constructed, but there are problems getting materials onsite because of the location.
He expressed regret that the establishment of the two conservation posts has been “taking so long,” but expressed the hope that when the new posts are built, illegal incursions could be abated in the face of what Barrow insists is not a border dispute but “an unfounded claim by Guatemala” over Belizean territory.
Last month, US Ambassador to Belize Carlos Moreno described Belize’s border as a disputed border. We asked the Ambassador to clarify the position on the border between Belize and Guatemala, as defined in the Belize Constitution, and he told us that while the US cannot take a position for either Belize or Guatemala, the US does support the call for the territorial differendum to be taken to the International Court of Justice.
Barrow asserted to us Friday, though, that there is “no question as to where the border is subject to the actual exercise of demarcation…”