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Oct 28, 2015

High-Ranking British Army General In Belize on Official Visit

A high-ranking member of the British Army arrived in Belize today and met with Prime Minister Dean Barrow this afternoon. He is Lieutenant General James Everard. One of the main points of discussion involves the reestablishment of BATSUB in Belize due to the increase in training exercises that are taking place on Belizean terrain. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The arrival of Lieutenant General James Everard, one of the highest-ranking military officers in the British Army, at Price Barracks shortly after midday, was met with an inspection of the guard of honor.  Upon approaching the dais, the Commander Land Forces, Brigadier General David Jones at his right, stood in salute facing the officers of the Belize Defense Force Service and Support Battalion.  From there he would proceed to carefully scrutinize two rows of ranking soldiers.  General Everard’s trip to Belize is a brief working visit.

 

David Jones

Brig. Gen. David Jones, Commander, Belize Defense Force

“It’s quite pivotal that he’s here.  It shows the keen interest that the British Army has to come back to Belize and the support that they are keen to provide to the Belize Defense Force.  It signifies that there is going to be greater cooperation from what occurred in 2011 when they had downsized in their size of their unit here and he is the person that actually will make the decision.  Whatever decision he makes will happen.  So he’s here to personally see what’s happening in Belize, what’s available for the British Army to do and what level of cooperation can be given to the Belize Defense Force.”

 

Since gradually pulling out of Belize back in 2011, the British Army has been focused on other campaigns, deploying troops to areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan.  At present, the UK’s principal land warfare force is considering restoring its presence here in Belize.

 

James Everard

Lt. Gen. James Everard, Commander Land Forces, British Army

“One of the areas that we already came to explore is reestablishing our training presence in Belize.  As you know, we’ve had about nine hundred soldiers here this year, I think we’ll be just over two thousand next year and I think that will establish a pattern of activity that we hope to maintain over a prolonged period.  It’s not just training benefit for ourselves but this time doing much more in concert with your own defense force to help develop our lessons to mutual advantage.”

 

Late this afternoon, following a conference at Price Barracks, both commanders called on Prime Minister Dean Barrow.

 

Brig. Gen. David Jones

“After meetings that I will have with him today and discussions that he will have with the prime minister, we will hear from him before he leaves in regards to what level of support BATSUB will be here in Belize and what level of support the British Army will be supporting Belize and the Belize Defense Force in particular.”

 

In acknowledging the role of the Belize Defense Force, General Everard says that the B.D.F. has supported the British Army tremendously, for the most part through its partnership with BATSUB.

 

Lt. Gen. James Everard

“Your army has been hugely supportive in terms of what we’ve been doing here and I think my message to the prime minister will be, A: to thank him for all the help we’ve had as we reestablish our presence here and to look to the future to see what more we can do together.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Does this signify a permanent presence in terms of the number of soldiers who will be stationed here or it is it just on a rotational basis for training?”

 

Lt. Gen. James Everard

“That’s a very good question and we have this dreadful word in the UK called austerity which means we do everything, whether we train in Kenya or Canada on sort of an austere footprint.  We are going to put a larger permanent presence here but it will still be small in comparison to what we had in the past.  But the important thing for me is that regular drumbeat of training.  So, you know, the Southern Company exercise is a battalion exercise next year and each one of those exercise is bringing with it a training team that will work alongside your own defense force hopefully to mutual benefit.”

 

But does the return of the British Army mean aerial support for the Belize Defense Force?

 

Lt. Gen. James Everard

“That for me is almost a more important aspect of us coming back here.  You know, we look at this part of the world, the only Commonwealth nation in Central America of course, is Belize.  We’ve been old friends for a long time.  I think your prime minister’s vision for defense, which I’ve read, is very clear and we working with other multinational partners, and you’ll know there’s been a very good multinational cooperation meeting shortly with the U.S., the Canadians, ourselves and your own defense force working together to carry that forward to really deliver what you need.”

 

Lieutenant General Everard’s arrival today was preceded by the visit of Major General EA Smyth-Osbourne on Tuesday. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “High-Ranking British Army General In Belize on Official Visit”

  1. Marie says:

    Yes, we still need British presence in Belize like before, bring back the tanks, fighting jets, show Guatemala that we are not alone.

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