BELIZE CITY. Wed. Apr. 13, 2016–April 30 of this year will mark the 157th anniversary of the 1859 Boundary Treaty that defined the Belize-Guatemala borders. As a result, the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) is organizing a trek to the border at the mouth of the Sarstoon River and the Northern Territorial Volunteers (NTV) is simultaneously organizing a trek to the Garbutt Falls monument.
According to a press release issued today by the BTV, this is an “effort to demonstrate support for not only maintaining, but also regaining our territory…”
The release also states that, “Amid the most recent acts of aggression by Guatemala in the form of their summarily claiming not only Sarstoon Island, but also the entire Sarstoon river, coupled with the GOB’s continued, willful negligence concerning all matters involving Guatemala’s intransigence, it is clear that a heightened awareness campaign must be maintained.”
In his interview with Amandala today, Wil Maheia, BTV leader, remarked that, “we are losing our country and we all must stand up and defend it.”
Giovani De La Fuente, NTV leader, who also spoke to Amandala today, said, “to participate in this commemoration will show that we are willing to take responsibility for our own destiny as a people.”
Maheia added that “the diplomacy exerted by Belizean officials in this long standing dispute is not working, as things have not gotten better at the border in the last ten years.” He further cited continued excursions into Belizean territory by Guatemalan poachers and loggers.
De La Fuente says that “we need a government with more courage and a smarter foreign policy.” He also added that the security of participants in these events will continue to be their primary concern.
While Maheia says that Belizeans must not fear participating in this trek, as participants in the expedition will remain on the Belize side of the border, he has noted that if the safety of Belizeans is under threat, “soldiers of the Belize Defence Force (BDF) are visible at the Forward Operating Base”.
Maheia calls on all political parties, non- governmental organizations (NGOs,) and civil society to participate in this annual historic commemoration.
Wil Maheia can be reached for further information at 610-0978, while Giovani De La Fuente can be reached for further information at 651- 6104.