7 News Belize

PM Dean Barrow Weighs in on The Jalacte Problem
posted (December 17, 2008)

We’ve shown you the illegal structure that a Guatemalan businessman has erected near Jalacte Village in the Toledo District. Well, as we’ve been reporting, the plan was to move by tomorrow. But that won’t be happening, at least not yet. 7NEWS has confirmed with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that due to delays in coordination, it will not happen either Thursday or Friday. Facilitators are now aiming at a date sometime early next week.

What’s the hold-up? Well, according to our sources, it is viewed as essential that the Guatemalan Army be present when it’s happening. And that is because the situation is considered very volatile because the man who put up the structure Leonel Arrellanos has made it clear to the OAS and the BDF that if anyone tries to move the structure he will use force to defend it.

So, the idea is that the OAS Adjacency Office, the Pan American Institute of Geography and History, the Guatemalan Armed Forces and the BDF will all go there together to try and maintain order. Why all the kid gloves for a Guatemalan businessman who built on the territory of another country he cannot own? Well, in the confidence building era, and in special agreement mode, it seems no one wants to stir any unrest, thus the keen attention to procedure. And while that delicate advance does not sit well with Belizean nationalists, the Prime Minister today stressed that it will definitely be removed.

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
“The building has to be dismantled, has to be destroyed and anybody who is in occupation needs to leave.”

Jacqueline Godwin,
How soon should we see these persons removed?

Hon. Dean Barrow,
“I believe certainly not later than next week. Remember that the OAS has already done its verification, there is no question that that is in Belizean territory. Our Minister of Foreign Affairs had a meeting in Brazil, there is a Latin American and Caribbean Summit taking place in Brazil, and I have just taken a message from the Minister saying that he met his counterpart, Foreign Minister Rodas in Brazil, and the Guatemalans are on board in terms of observing the dismantling, observing the repatriation. I believe then that that ought to take place, the logistics ought to be arranged fairly quickly and I would say certainly not later than next week.”

Arellanos has told Guatemalan authorities that he intends the container to be used for storing cattle feed. It is known that the illegal, unregulated trade of cattle from Belize into Guatemala continues un-checked between Jalacte and Santa Cruz, Guatemala.

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