Belize Territorial Volunteers discover palm oil, cornfields encroaching on border

by Belize Territorial Volunteers

Belize Territorial Volunteers on Guatamala-Belize border 040613On a recent morning, approximately 60 people boarded buses and vehicles in Punta Gorda for the rough road journey to the village of Dolores on the Southern Belize-Guatemala border with a group of the Belize Territorial Volunteers.

After almost three hours of travel to the border, the BTV group began a strenuous hike to the borderline. Just before reaching the border, the group was met by Organization of American States (OAS) representatives, who informed the group that they had reached the borderline and warned them not to proceed further west.

A local Mayan resident in the group of BTV volunteers advised that the group had in fact not yet reached the border, so the group proceeded to push forward to the cement survey marker despite the comment from the OAS representative.

Palm oil plantation on Belize-Guatamala border 040613Upon reaching the official survey marker it became clear to the group why the representative did not want them to proceed further west. The BTV delegation found a large palm oil plantation, with massive areas of land including the borderline already cleared. The BTV group then moved on from that position and hiked to another area north, where again they encountered a cleared border with cornfields that unquestionably crossed into Belize territory. Continuing along the border with the intention of clearing the line, the BTV group found large pasture territory after a long hike through the cornfields.

“As far as we are concerned, all of that area of the borderline is already cleared. We estimate that almost 80% of the border between Belize and Guatemala is likely already cleared. We hope to continue the clearing, finishing before the end of the dry season,” says Wil Maheia, leader of the Belize Territorial Volunteers.

“We are very happy that alcaldes (mayors) from Otoxha and Dolores showed up with some of the patriotic and brave people of their communities, despite being told by the chairman of the Toledo Alcaldes Association, Alfonso Cal, that they should not attend the border clearing because it could be dangerous,” noted Maheia.

For more information on the Belize Territorial Volunteers and upcoming hikes, contact Wil Maheia on Facebook or by email at pgwil@pnpbelize.org. For background on this story, see Belize Territorial Volunteers demarcate border lines.