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Nov 29, 2016

Government Calls Stakeholders to Table to Formulate National Defense Strategy

Stakeholders from the public and private sectors are drafting a strategy which they will present to government to ensure the national security and defense of the country. The document focuses on the traditional sense of security, but also the integration of best practices for the economy, health and education. Today, a second round of consultation took place at the Coastguard headquarters in Belize City. News Five’s Duane Moody reports. 


Duane Moody, Reporting

Today, officials from the government met with key persons in a round of consultation at the Coastguard headquarters in Belize City on a Belize National Defense and Security Strategy. The purpose of the meeting is to engage with representatives from interest groups and clarify key action area as well as the next steps to develop an integrated approach for the strategic environment, national security and defense concepts for the country. According to C.E.O. in the Ministry of Home Affairs, George Lovell the first consultation was held back in May of this year.


George Lovell

Col. George Lovell (Ret’d), C.E.O., Ministry of Home Affairs

“The first consultation we had primarily government officials; there were some non-governmental organizations that were there. But clearly when I reviewed the list of participants at that first consultation, I realized that there was an absence of some key stakeholders that we certainly need to engage in this process of our national security and defense strategy. So those that we see today at the ones that were unable to engage with the planners at the May consultation process.”


The strategy will not only look at the traditional defense and security of the country, but it will also engage health, environment, education and social services. The team, which involves a wide cross-section of participants, will look at drafting a document for the present and future consideration for national security of the country.


Felix Enriquez

Felix Enriquez, C.E.O., Ministry of Defense

“In as much as how we who are put in the strategy together have a very good idea of what the problems are where security was concerned, the problem with security is a lot more complex than what it used to be. So the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Home Affairs must be able to articulate the concerns of the other interest groups. So while we have consulted with the department heads and some other N.G.O.s and even the C.E.O.s from the other ministries and even the likes of the judiciary and other parties who are very important to this process.”


Today, the consultation included the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Belize Territorial Volunteers who can provide a holistic idea of issues in terms of security which can be included in the document. One participant today was BTV founder Wil Maheia who has made many trips to the Sarstoon.


Wil Maheia

Wil Maheia, BTV

“I believe this group consultation was very informative. I gained more insight as to what is taking place on a national level within the government like looking after the country’s security and participating in the development of the national security strategy and I believe that it is a good thing because at the end of the day we are all Belizeans. It doesn’t matter which side of the isle we sit on, we need to particulate because it is one country and it is one Belize.”


Kay Menzies

Kay Menzies, Past President, BCCI

“I’m very encouraged to know that there is a working progress of developing a strategy that encompasses both the security and defense needs of the nation, but also taking security beyond what everybody thinks of as law enforcement and so on and taking it to a holistic perspective of basic food security, the security of the individual, the right to have an education, the rule of law.  These are issues that are critical to not just the survival, but the development of a country and it is nice to see a strategy that is pulling it all in and pulling it together.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

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