October 5, 2017
Honourable Dean O. Barrow
Prime Minister, Belize
Dear Mr. Barrow:
I write to inform you of my experience on the Sarstoon River on the 16th of September, 2017. I participated in the Toledo Eco Challenge Race whereby participants had to get from Barranco to Sarstoon Island and back. A Mexican female, a North American female, a Belizean from Blue Creek, Toledo District and I were aboard the vessel “Piricy” captained by Guermo Castellanos. The Belize Coast Guards were present at Barranco and informed us that they were there to ensure the safety of all thirty (30) kayakers and six (6) motorized vessels.
At the Sarstoon River entrance, it was immediately evident that the G.A.F. were out in full force (5 vessels). Our vessel was promptly intercepted at the western end of Sarstoon Island by a G.A.F. Tiger Shark vessel with 6 military and one media personnel named Carlos Cruz from the Guate Prensa Libre. We were informed in Spanish that we were in Guatemalan waters and we were instructed to check in with their immigration at the river mouth. We declined the invite and proceeded to navigate around the Island.
By now, out in the open, in front of our F.O.B., the Guatemalan vessels were harassing and intimidating the Belizean entourage. A TIDE vessel was even escorted from the Sarstoon Island to in front of the F.O.B. This entire time the Belizean Coast Guard and B.D.F. were looking on from their pier in front of the F.O.B.
It is evident that due to the foreign policy of the Belize Government, the G.A.F. has established dominance in this area of Belize.
As to procedures, you are now formally informed. Please communicate our displeasure to relevant authorities and organizations. It would be wise to inform the citizens of Belize as to how come we have been reduced to this level.
Antonio Giovanni de la Fuente
cc/ Honourable John Saldivar ([email protected])
cc/ Amandala Press