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May 3, 2017

Going Beyond the Horizon

In commemoration of World Press Freedom Day, local journalists and media personalities were invited for a fly over of Belize from the Belize District over to the Cayo District. Treated to unfettered access of the U.S. Army’s UH 60 Blackhawk, the press not only got the chance to take in the views of Belize’s geography, but also get aerial view of some of the military’s work in Belize. The crew stopped in at Belmopan to check out some of the work happening there. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The U.S. Army South, through the Beyond the Horizon 2017 project is investing around twelve million U.S. dollars in a number of infrastructural projects, as well as medical readiness training exercises in the form of outreach clinics. These projects will see over two thousand volunteers of the US Army South working in Belize on rotation.  In the Belize District, the building of this health clinic in Double Head Cabbage is one of the ongoing construction projects. Heading west, students of Saint Matthews Primary School are being gifted with a brand new school building through the Beyond the Horizon Project. And in the Capital, the Western Regional Hospital’s Accident and Emergency serves over four thousand patients per month – the new expansions they are getting through the U.S. Army South are much needed.

 

Melinda Guerra

Melinda Guerra, Regional Health Manager, Western Health Region

“Definitely the expansion of these facilities going to make services more available to the persons or the patients who access services here at the hospital. As you know, this is the second largest district in the region. We don’t only serve the Cayo District, but we also serve the Southern region. So, definitely, it is a big plus for us as we will have more added space to accommodate the patients who access services. On a monthly basis we have over four thousand patients accessing the accident and emergency. So, definitely, the patients will benefit from this extension.”

 

As a part of the works at the Western Regional Hospital, the accident and emergency area is being expanded to help alleviate the congestion and to better serve patients.

 

Rene Godoy

Rene Godoy, Chief of Staff, Western Regional Hospital

“As it is right now, we have two trauma rooms to accommodate our emergency urgencies. We have three beds for observation and one bed that is designated for obstetrics cases. This expansion will enhance that infrastructure that we are presently using and we are looking at four additional beds for observation as it is right now.”

 

The team leading the construction project is made up of civil engineers – the carpenters, plumbers, and electricians of the U.S. Army South. The U.S. team is joined by a couple members of the B.D.F. – and the visiting team says they have learnt quite a bit from their local counterparts.

 

Bryan Thuman

Master Sergeant Bryan Thuman, Two-Week Team Lead, Beyond the Horizon

“We have already surpassed what our original plan was. Our original plan was to finish the exterior block on this emergency room building behind me and the exterior block on the incinerator on the other side of the site. Today, this morning we just finished putting the trusses up on the emergency room and we already put plaster on the entire incinerator and we have put plaster on two and half sides of this building already. We have also straightened up several telephone poles, or power lines; utility poles and we have also a bunch of trees that we have cut down. So, we’vetaken care of our overall task and some other projects that needed to be done; so we’ve taken care of those as well.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“We know that this is a partnership with the BDF; do you have any of the local men here assisting you in this project?”

 

Master Sergeant Bryan Thuman

“Yes. Absolutely. Every day, I believe we have from four to eight maybe. I don’t know the exact number, but we have had them here with us every day which has been an awesome experience. Several tasks that we have completed we didn’t have exact knowledge of how they do it here and they have been very available to us to explain mixing the mortar, mixing the concrete, what type of mix they use, what type of materials they use; and the type of plaster on this building that we didn’t expect to get to – none of my men or the marines have ever put plaster up; so, they have been the frontline in getting the plaster up and teaching the us. And so my guys and the marines have been learning that the whole time. It has been awesome having them with us here and working side by side; this whole time it has been a lot of fun.”

 

The hospital is receiving its own incinerator – which means the facility will not have to spend an additional fifty thousand plus dollars per year as it currently does on a rental unit. Beyond the Horizon has already built a shed to house this brand new incinerator that will be installed in the coming days.

 

Melinda Guerra

“We are paying right now I think, over, close to fifty thousand plus dollars just for private services.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“For the year?”

 

Melinda Guerra

“Yes. Just for the year. So, definitely, not only here we are going to be using it but also help us to manage the waste from private sector. So, we are going to see how best we can utilize it.  Once we have those projects completed then we are having monies that we are contracting right now contracting for the incinerator for private services. And then now those funds are going to stay now for other uses in the hospital. So, it is a great benefit for both the population of this region, the patients, the staff working here. So, it is a big asset for us.”

 

During the flyover, reporters and media personalities were given the chance to take in aerial views of the Belize Zoo; the scenic route to San Ignacio; as well as popular Mayan site Xunantunich. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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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 “Going Beyond the Horizon”

  1. Roger Wright says:

    It is good the US Army is doing the job and taking on the reponsibility of the government. While the Minister’s are stealing and selling out the country one passport at a time.so happy the people will a decent hospital to get treatment. Bunfire pan alldeh wicked Ministers

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