Letters — 04 September 2015
The Saviors of Sarstoon

Forest Home Village
Toledo District, Belize.

The Editor Amandala

Editor Sir,

         “From proud Rio Hondo to old Sarstoon.” Those are the poetic words used by Samuel Haynes in our National Anthem to define our country, Belize, from north to south. Events over the past six years, however, have shown that if Mother England, the United States, Guatemala, and this administration had their own way we would own the southernmost part of the country, the Sarstoon area, on paper only.

        Today we know of the southern markers of Belize and the untold wealth in the deep south of our country, because a group a brave and patriotic Belizeans took the necessary steps to get to know that area of our land. That was never done or encouraged by the administration, because for more than half a decade they have conspired with the United States, Mother England, and Guatemala in every possible way to discourage us from visiting that area of our territory.

    There is great displeasure with this administration over what is happening in the Sarstoon area of  The Jewel. The brave and patriotic Belizeans who have visited the area, have revealed that by its hands-off policy in the deep south of the country, the administration has literally quietly given our covetous neighbor a large portion of that area of The Jewel. While they try to make the southernmost portion of this land off limit to us, Guatemalans have been allowed to have full use and enjoyment of the area.

        Through visits to the area by brave sons and daughters of the soil, we know that Guatemalans are stealing our resources with illegal fishing in our waters, the illegal cutting of milpas, and the falling of precious logs among other things from our land. Worst of all, we now know that we must take the necessary steps to demand an end to the Guatemalans’ frequent harassment of our BDF soldiers, Coast Guards, and civilians, who visit the deep south of our country.

    Daily, scores of Guatemalans enter our territory in the south unlawfully to conduct all sorts of activities. They don’t get permission to enter our country from any authority in Belize. They just walk across our border, and do whatever they wish. On the other hand information gathered from our brothers and sisters who have visited the southernmost part of the country has shown that our people who visit this particular area of our land have to repeatedly get permission from the Guatemalans on our side of the border to move around in the deep south of our own country.

        That aggression by Guatemala against Belizeans in their own territory was recently displayed before the local and foreign press, when the Guatemalan military vessels tried to block a number of Belizean boats from visiting the Sarstoon Island. Needless to say, on the orders of our government, during that incident the Belize Defence Force and the Belize Coast Guard were nowhere in sight. They were miles away from the unwarranted intimidation of Belizeans by Guatemalan soldiers.

    Nevertheless, a few days later Prime Minister Barrow boasted that his government is prepared to defend all 8,867 square miles of our country to the death. Total hot air. Because of this cowardly action by our government, and its secret accommodation agreement with the land hog to the west and south of our land, we postponed or cancelled the building of a necessary forward operating base for the Coast Guard on Sarstoon Island, after the Guatemalan government stated publicly that it’s not in agreement with the building of the facility.

        In 1966 Philip Goldson saved Belize when he broke an oath of secrecy and revealed to the nation that in negotiations abroad Britain and the United States were preparing to use the Thirteen Proposals to give Belize to Guatemala. Today, the sons and daughters of the soil who have gone into their own pockets and solicited funds from the community to meet the cost of transportation to the Sarstoon area of the country are called the Belize Territorial Volunteers (B.T.V.). By their action they have proven that in 2015 they are the saviors of the Sarstoon; like Goldson, they have sounded the alarm bell. They have spoken to us straight. Like Goldson, they have told us the naked truth.

    With this government, we are losing the Sarstoon in the Guatemalan dispute. We must put our country first. Let’s support the B.T.V. in every possible way to safeguard the Sarstoon for future generations of Belizeans.

Yours truly,

George Parham

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