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Mar 28, 2017

U.S. Army Takes Belize “Beyond the Horizon”

The U.S. Army South, in partnership with the B.D.F., will be kicking off Beyond the Horizon 2017. For about ten years now, the training exercise has been taking place in Belize, providing free medical and dental services, as well as building medical and educational facilities across the country.  The project officially kicked off on Saturday and will end mid-June. News Five’s Andrea Polanco attended today’s town hall meeting and has more on the more than ten million dollar investment being carried out in the next three months.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Since 2008, Beyond the Horizon – a project led by the US Army South-  in collaboration with several local and international partners, has been serving communities across Belize. It is part of a wider program that provides civic assistance in the Central American region. In the past, Belize has benefitted from numerous construction projects, including the building of schools, as well as medical and dental programs. This year, over two thousand officers of the US Army will be working on rotation to complete five construction projects and three medical service events valued over ten million US dollars. Today, the lead team held a meeting with local partners to lay out the plans for the medical clinics. The clinics will be able to accommodate some six hundred persons per day – the clinics do not require registration and are free of cost.

 

Sean Kemp

Major Sean Kemp, US South Comm. Task Force Info Op Officer, BTH 2017

“Medical Services that we are going to provide are here in Ladyville where we are going to provide from April ninth and go through to the twenty-first – but the Easter Break – we won’t be providing services during that time. We will also be providing that in San Ignacio and Dangriga. Some of those services we will be providing at those clinics will encompass optometry, OBGYN, and general practice. We will also have some of the N.G.O.s and health care providers there providing education pamphlets and overall general information for the public to take back. We will have pharmaceutical folks who will be coming in from the United States and will also be coordinating with the different hospitals in the regions that will help support us and we will be providing some basic medication. I think the max we will provide is about seven days’ worth of medication during that time. It will be basic medication – Ibuprofen and things that are immediate need.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, people of all ages – from babies to elderly citizens?”

 

Major Sean Kemp

“Absolutely. We will be providing – pediatricians will be there; Geriatrics. We will have the full range, scope and capability to handle from infant to elderly.”

 

Apart from the three medical clinics, the team has started work on multiple construction projects, five in total which will see the construction of clinics, classrooms and other buildings. St Matthews Government School is set to receive three new classrooms.

 

Major Sean Kemp

“We will be building a new school building there. We are also building an additional clinic in Ladyville. We are building another clinic in Double Head Cabbage. We are also building an expansion of the emergency room in Belmopan to include covered parking for the medics and medical incineration. So, those are the projects. Those have already started and as our rotational folks come in between now and June seventeenth, those constructions will be ongoing.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Will local personnel be helping you on the ground to get those projects up and going?”

 

Major Sean Kemp

“Yes. We have coordinated with a lot of the subcontractors to be able to come out and establish some of the base work. For example, at Ladyville, we had subcontractors come in and provide some of the piling work. So, America has invested a total of eleven point five million dollars into the country of Belize. We believe that is important as we continue our partnership with the country, in coordination with the US Embassy of a long, enduring effort.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“In terms of the number of personnel from the US Army here – working on this project – how many?”

 

Major Sean Kemp

“Right now we have about four hundred personnel on the ground. We have a duration – folks like myself, I am here from the start all the way to the end which will be July first and then every two weeks we have rotational service members come in and providing those different services. Say, for the first week there might be framers and concrete folks and the next rotation might be electrician and plumbers. And that project will continue through to June seventeenth.”

Andrea Polanco

“And all these personnel who are coming in, they are within the army and people who are trained?”

 

Major Sean Kemp

“Correct. All our service members are trained in the specialty area that is required. What is unique about this mission is that it is a true partnership and it is a reserved component mission. So, we have our reservists are taking their two week a year that they train and they have civilian jobs – come over here and provide those services. So, it is really true testament to the citizen soldier coming over here and providing those services and partnership with Belize.”

 

And to strengthen the work and impact of Beyond the Horizon 2017, Major Kemp says they welcome the support of local N.G.O.s and other business partners to be a part of this initiative.

 

Major Sean Kemp

“Unfortunately, fiscal constraints are always an issue and we can’t do anything. So, we absolutely want to coordinate with all those N.G.O.s to help us support that.  Part of that, is that we need water, we need tents – so we don’t want to have six hundred people outside waiting in the sun. So, if organizations can support that, we appeal to them. You can find us on Facebook: BeyondTheHorizon: 2017-Belize and provide that support and we will have somebody get with you or get with your local chairperson in Ladyville, San Ignacio or Dangriga. To include, we have many community relations events that we are planning and those go above and beyond like playing soccer with the kids; having helicopter come out and provide aesthetic display for the kids and kind of getting the community together. So, we need all the support we can get.”

 

During the span of the project, the BDF and other local organizations, including the Ministries of Health and Education, will work side by side with U.S. military officers. The collaborative training exercise seeks to strengthen the partnership between the US and Belize.

 

Major Sean Kemp

“This is very important to us. Our mission is to support and have a good partnership with Belize. So, in the event of the future, say there is a hurricane, we already have that relationship. We can come in here and help the B.D.F.; the Government; Ministry of Health; Ministry of Defence. We already have that partnership and bond where it is an easy transition where we can come down here and help. We continue to build that. US citizens love to come down here and travel. We have over a million citizens come down here every year; you know, travelling in whether it is by airplane or by ships. So, we want to continue that relationship.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

 

The medical and dental services will be at Ladyville Community Center from April eight to the thirteenth and then it resumes on the fifteenth and ends on the twentieth.  The western clinic will be held at the Macal River Park in San Ignacio from May sixth to the twentieth. The final clinic will take place in Dangriga at the D Company Barracks from May twentieth to June third.   

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3 Responses for “U.S. Army Takes Belize “Beyond the Horizon””

  1. Joe says:

    Very nice us southcomm bzean thanks roots rural love

  2. Mike G says:

    Thank you Uncle Sam!

  3. Mar says:

    Thanks US Southcom and everyone involved in the project, your work will be appreciated for many years after you leave, selfless service, God bless!

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