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Aug 7, 2015

New Recruits Join Ranks of B.D.F.

As the B.D.F. faces a number of challenges, it is also strengthening its numbers. Today, a new squad of officers joined its ranks following seventeen weeks of intense training ranging from jungle survival to conventional war tactics and leadership. Their mission is to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Belize.  Duane Moody was there and has this report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Around nine this morning, relatives and friends gathered at the Sir Colville Young Parade Square at Price Barracks, Ladyville for the passing out parade of additional soldiers to the military. Following the arrival of the Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, and the Governor General, Sir Colville Young, the eighty-one new soldiers of the B.D.F. recruit intake number sixty were inspected by the G.G.  With pomp and circumstance, the new officers, dressed in their crisp green uniforms, put on various presentations and paraded the square to honor the guests. The cohort is part of an additional two hundred soldiers that will be installed into the fold of the Belize Defense Force.

 

David Jones

Brig. General David Jones, Commandant, B.D.F.

“We just witnessed the passing out parade of recruit intake number sixty. They’ve been in training for four months and they are now going to join the ranks of the Belize Defense Force. We’ve been authorized an additional two hundred men about a year ago and we are in the process of achieving that. We are three-quarters of the way and now these recruits are now going to join the ranks and man the borders and do the patrols that we require them to do for the interest of national security and sovereignty of Belize.”

 

The recruits were given military tasks to test their perseverance and demonstrated that in a mock battle following official presentations. The recruits were subjected to four months of intense theoretical and practical training in areas of first aid, weapon handling and land navigation. They were also trained in jungle survival, field craft, weapon and foot drills, conventional war tactics, leadership, two-way radio communication, hand signals and physical exercise.

 

Twenty year olds Kalime Lewis of Belize City, Udiel Barrientos of Indian Ville Toledo, Peter Pow of San Ignacio and eighteen year old Jmartin Carrias, excelled in the respected areas, despite the intensity of the program.

 

Kalime Lewis

Rec. Kalime Lewis, Champion Shot Awardee

“I just come executed what our Corporal and Sergeant taught us about weapon handling and stuff like that. That was something that I really wanted and so I just put in all my effort and I kept motivated telling myself that Kalime I can do this. And I did it because I want to be a sniper for the Belize Defense Force.”

 

Udiel Barrientos

Rec. Udiel Barrientos, Champion Field Craft Awardee

“I executed all my drills that were taught to me—theoretically and physically—at our final exercise that took place in Cayo, Mountain Pine Ridge which was concealment so that the enemy could not see you. I put in a hundred percent in my work. It was very challenging, but like my instructors always told us, you should always be motivated, keep up the standards.”

 

Peter Pow

Rec. Peter Pow, Champion Physical Training Awardee

“I feel very good that I come in first in the Champion PT. I worked very hard for it. Every running I did, I came in first. I worked very hard.”

 

Jmartin Carrias

Rec. Jmartin Carrias, Champion Recruit Awardee

“My award is the champion recruit and it is tough to win. You have to have a strong mentality and string fitness, physical fitness. It is a tough to be champion because everybody wants to win this, but if you have a strong mentality and fitness, you can accomplish this goal.”

 

The recruit intake is the sixth to be inducted into the force for the Minister of National Security since he took over the ministry. According to Saldivar, it is part of a plan by the ministry to improve the strength and capabilities of the defense of the country.

John Saldivar

John Saldivar, Minister of National Security

“By the end of 2017, all three services will have reached optimum strength to do all its functions which from time to time arise and the traditional ones and nontraditional. The B.D.F. will have near twice the human resources it had at the beginning of 2012 by the end of 2017. With the eighty-one soldiers passing out here today, this brings our numbers to almost three hundred and forty-eight new soldiers that have joined the ranks of the B.D.F. since I took over this ministry.”

 

The recruiting process for intake number sixty-one was completed last week and the training starts in October. Duane Moody for News Five.

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