Letters — 28 August 2015
Rowland Parks wrote OAS about BTV’s Sarstoonexpedition

Attention: Mr. Sergio Benitez
Director
Office of the General Secretariat of the OAS
Adjacency Zone Belize and Guatemala

August 17, 2015

Dear Mr. Benitez:

Please find below a list of questions relating to the expedition led by the Belize Territorial Volunteers yesterday to Sarstoon Island.

As observers of the events at Sarstoon Island, regarding the trip by the Belize Territorial Volunteers and the Northern Territorial Volunteers on Sunday, August 16, 2015, did your representatives observe the Guatemalan navy in Belizean waters blockading a Belizean boat from joining the rest of the flotilla that had gone to the island along with Wil Maheia and his supporters?

2) All local media reports say that the blockage of the Belizean boat occurred in waters that are clearly Belizean waters. Do your representatives agree that the blockage of the boat occurred in Belizean waters?

3)Did any of your representatives attempt to identify themselves and speak to the Guatemalan soldiers about what were they doing in Belizean waters, and why were they preventing the Belizean boat from joining the rest of the other boats that had already passed on their way to Sarstoon Island?

4) If so, what did your representatives tell the Guatemalans, and what was the Guatemalans’ reply?

5) For the record, is Sarstoon Island in Belizean territory, or is it Guatemalan territory?

6) Do you consider that the Guatemalans were wrong in what they did, on three counts: (1) being illegally in Belizean waters; (2) being illegally armed in Belizean territory; (3) and illegally detaining a number of Belizean citizens in Belizean territory, which, under our laws, is kidnapping?

7) Is the OAS going to make a formal report about the matter, and if so, when?

8) Are you prepared to advise the Belize Government to lodge a diplomatic note of protest to the Guatemalan government over its incursion into Belizean territory and its navy’s blockage of, and interference with civilian boats on the Sarstoon River, which your observers should have witnessed?

9) In view of the aggressive actions of the Guatemalan military against unarmed Belizeans, how is this going to help the so-called “confidence-building measures” between the two countries, which the OAS has been facilitating?

10) Shouldn’t Belizeans be free to move about in this area, given that it is in Belize national territory, and Guatemala only has a theoretical claim that no court, particularly the ICJ, has adjudicated upon as yet?

(PS: Is it possible for you to answer us today, as we go to press tonight?)

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