BELIZE CITY, Tues. Sept. 8, 2015–The Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) issued a press release today demanding that Prime Minister Dean Barrow immediately release the contents of the Guatemalan government’s response to the diplomatic protest note sent by the government on August 19.
BTV founder Wil Maheia told Amandala tonight that it is very important that the government come clean with the Belizean people.
“For too long they have been playing off this Sarstoon River situation,” Maheia said.
Maheia said he is also calling on Belizeans in the diaspora to come out and protest the Belize delegation when it goes to the United Nations for this year’s General Assembly address in September.
“We are calling on Belizeans in the diaspora to meet the Belize delegation at the UN and voice their concerns about the way the Government of Belize has apparently ceded territory to Guatemala by its inaction,” Maheia said.
In addition, the BTV leader said that all tertiary level students should rise to the occasion and demand that government stand up for Belizean sovereignty in the Sarstoon River.
The BTV press release stated, “The Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV), having heard from Prime Minister Dean Barrow that on August 19, 2015, an extremely strong protest note was sent to [the] Guatemala government in relation to the BTV’s August 16 expedition, now calls on him as the political leader of Belize to release to the nation and people of Belize, the contents of the said strong protest note.”
The release added, “The BTV is satisfied by now and has reasons to believe that the Government of Guatemala has responded to the Belizean Government and that on or around August 24, 2015, the Government of Belize received a response to their so-called extremely strong protest note, in which Guatemala strongly rejected the views expressed by the Government of Belize.
“BTV understands that Guatemala further rejected Belize’s assertion that it was a mere unarmed group of civilians who visited the Sarstoon River and Island on August 16, 2015, and scolded the Belize Government, stating they acted irresponsibly in not preventing BTV from encroaching on Guatemalan territory.”
The BTV ended its release by saying: “It is the understanding of BTV that its worst suspicions have been confirmed by Guatemala. BTV have always informed the people of Belize that the behavior of the Government of Belize is tantamount to ceding the Belize portion of Sarstoon River and Sarstoon Island.
“This is a grave national issue which breaches Belizean sovereignty. As we prepare to celebrate the 217th anniversary of the Battle of Saint George’s Caye and the 34th year of the political independence of our nation, the Government of Prime Minister Barrow and Foreign Minister Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington has a legal duty to provide the Belizean people with full disclosure of that protest note and its ensuing response.”
“BTV demands they do so immediately,” said the release.