For the better part of the last 3 years, Wil Mehia and a dwindling small group of rabble rousers have been making trips to the Sarstoon, for what appears to be the sole reason of stirring up trouble with the Guatemalan military that illegally patrols the river in what is clearly Belize' s territorial waters. Now Guatemala is our neighbor from the west and south and they have been claiming a part of our country for years and as a people we have always said we will try to settle the claim through diplomacy and not through war. For the obvious reason being that they have military might over us. It would be foolhardy for us to ask our young men and women to take up arms and fight a war where they would be slaughtered by the much more powerful, better prepared and equipped Guatemalan military. In effect what Wil and his group have been doing is like putting their hands in a jaguar's mouth just because the Jaguar is in their yard. One of these day the Jaguar is going to bite them.
Something we have noticed with these trips Wil and his group take is that PUP presence is always in Toledo whenever these trips occur and this time it was no different. On Saturday the Leader of the PUP just happened to be on the ground in the Toledo district, just like last year when the then leader was in Big Falls Toledo for a failed People's Assembly. As to whether one thing has anything to do with the other, you the Belizeans will have to decide that. What we do know is that there was no advance notice that the PUP leader would be in Toledo last weekend. It appears as if though it was not a planned visit but was only organized last week after the PUP Thursday meeting. Johnny it seems, is facing strong opposition in his party already and he needs to drum up support and he is starting in the south, in the backyard of two persons who did not support him in his leadership bid. What better way to do so than with the ANTI-GUATEMALAN song and dance.
From as early as Saturday, word surfaced that Wil and his group had a face to face with the Guatemalan Naval forces in the area. To get the sort of buildup in that area is an easy thing to do by just getting advance warning out that one intends to go and do certain things on territory the Guatemalans refer to as theirs, and as sure as night follows day, the Guatemalan military will be out in numbers to defend what they consider theirs. Even though their claim is unfounded and they perhaps know they have to keep face and try and muscle Belize. Wil was the first to complain about the most recent standoff and that was followed by the PUP who called for the recall of our ambassador from Guatemala. The government has responded saying it will not do that but instead use diplomatic channels to deal with this problem, because it is the proper way to approach it.
Then there are all those persons who like to try and whip Belizeans into a frenzy whenever the name Guatemala is mentioned. They include the Mose Hyde and Ms Coye. Don Hecto, Carlos Santos and Louis Wade. They, in their usual way, have been playing the Chicken Little game. However Ms Coye has taken it too far. She is a person who has studied anthropology and knows the effects of armed confrontation, both the financial and human suffering caused by injuries and loss of life. On Monday night during one of her regular calls just before the end of the Business Hour show , she said that the government ought to go to the bars and gather all the able bodied men, so they can be drafted by the BDF and sent to the Sarstoon, so that they can take up arms and defend Belize against Guatemala . According to her some of them will have to die to send a message to Guatemala and the world that Belize is ours.
Ms. Coye can say that because as far as we have been able to ascertain she does not and will not have a husband , boyfriend or son who would be drafted and sent to die in an armed combat. We respect her right and that of every other Belizean to have an opinion on the Guatemalan issue, but when that opinion is nonsensical we must point it out. Some of these so called intellectuals have been getting away with some statements that really make no sense because when they make them to these journalists the journalist take them as gospel and don't question the basis of their statements. People like Ms. Coye acts as if though her level of education places her on a plain above the head of all other Belizeans.
One needs to remind her and all the others including the PUP , that there was an election on November 4, last year and the people of Belize told the Prime Minister and his cabinet that the people of this nation were happy with the way we were handling this Guatemalan situation . Sure it was not on the ballot as a direct issue but it was a topic that had been properly ventilated in the context of the all out attacks on Minister Elrington. Even two former Foreign Affairs Ministers of the PUP being Eamon and Assad had to admit a week earlier at the Bar Summit, that the UDP as our government was dealing with the Guatemalan issue in the proper way. For Eamon to turn around a week later and say anything otherwise, is a position that will not go down well with the masses .