Diplomacy for Security - Addressing Tensions at The Western Border Print E-mail
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Thursday, 07 June 2012 00:00

(L-r) CEO, Alexis Rosado, Director, Ruth Meighan, Director, Sergio Benitez, Hon. John Saldivar, Manager Gonzalo RosadoOn Friday June 1, Minister of National Security, Hon. John Saldivar along with Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alexis Rosado; Director of Immigration Ruth Meighan and General Manager of the Border Management Agency Gonzalo Rosado visited the offices of the Organization of American States at the Belize Guatemala Border in Benque. The team was greeted by the OAS Office Director Sergio Benitez.

The team was prompted to make the call since there has been escalating tensions at the Belize-Guatemala border in Benque. On May 25th, there was a flare up at the border as Belize customs officers impounded a 2008 Mitsubishi L-200 Sportero pickup truck that is presumed to have been stolen and operatives tried to take it across to Guatemala through the border. That led to a confrontation between police officers and those attempting to take the vehicle over. This type of scenario has been one that law enforcement personnel have had to contend with on a regular basis as Guatemalans gather on the Belizean side of the border for various reasons.

This situation has caused concern in the Ministry of National Security and Foreign Affairs as well as the Border Management Agency and the meeting with the OAS was to inform them that there will be changes at the border.

In an effort to offer greater security to Customs, Immigration and Police officers who work at the border, there will be a new fence constructed at the border. The fence will be high enough to separate traffic going into and coming out of border offices. It will extend all the way from the building to the OIRSA spraying shed. One-direction revolving doors will be installed to prevent pedestrians from coming to the area where visitors exit the building before entering into Guatemala. Additionally, sensors will be placed at the OIRSA spraying shed to prevent persons from walking through it.

All persons involved in the meeting expressed satisfaction at the decision by the Ministry of National Security and construction to erect the fence and install the doors and sensors is to start within the next few weeks.