Guatemalan Armed Forces claim Belize flags were on Guatemalan lands

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Posted: Monday, September 19, 2022. 1:47 p.m. CST.

By Zoila Palma González: Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) led an expedition to Sarstoon Island on Sunday where they sang the national anthem and planted the Belize flag.

All as part of September celebration activities commemorating Belize’s 41st birthdayst Independence.

However, Wil Maheia says that while they were near the mouth of the Sarstoon River, they were encountered by members of the Guatemalan Armed Forces (GAF).

“So we left PG for Sarstoon Island yesterday. Looks like the GAF knew we were coming since we’re usually in the river before they counter us but yesterday they met us outside the mouth of the river and told us we couldn’t get in well in the river, of course, we don’t take no, so we proceeded and thank God we had several boats, so it was difficult for them to block us all,” said Maheia.

Maheia says that once the group was on the island, they sang Belize’s national anthem and planted Belizean flags, which were later torn down by GAF members.

“Then we started to sing the national anthem and you can see them boiling. Immediately after we sang the national anthem and our boat drifted away, they pushed and rushed to pull down our flag, they then put our flag in their boat. We had planted two flags, one even deeper in the island and they went for both,” Maheia added.

According to Maheia, the BTV approached them asking for the flags and after they refused, the BTV then approached members of the Belize Defense Force for help.

“They then escorted us to the GAF boat and the BDF told them to return the flag to us and they told the BDF/BCG that the flag would not be returned because it had been put on Guatemalan territory. I had insisted on not leaving the area until I got the flag back, but the sea started to get rough and we were getting busy, so we left the area and they kept the flag, Maheia said.

Guatemala’s territorial, maritime and island claim to the territory of Belize is brought before the ICJ.

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