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Jul 21, 2017

The Army to Benefit from New Hospital Construction

The Belize Defense Force is getting a new hospital through collaboration with the United States.  A team from the U.S. Marine will be carrying the necessary construction to bring up to speed the current facility. Works are scheduled to be completed by October. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports from Price Barracks.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A new hospital for the Belize Defense Force.  It’s a much needed medical facility for the country’s armed forces, an upgrade from the rundown structure at Price Barracks.  For years, the B.D.F. has been providing health services to its own, as well as civilian residents in Ladyville and Lord’s Bank.  Over time, however, the building has become decrepit and a budget for urgent repairs is non-existent.

 

Elfryn Reyes

Major Elfryn Reyes, Force Medical Officer, B.D.F.

“It’s been some years now that we saw that the existing structure where the B.D.F. hospital was, over that side, needed some major work.  This side of the hospital was not in use because it was for the British; however, we managed to get the permission from the British, not only here, but in the UK, to use this side of the building.  So we moved over this side and we started the talking to see how we could get the renovation done over this side.  Unfortunately, we at the B.D.F. don’t have the budget for this so we had to seek other means to see how we could get the renovations going.”

 

Enter the U.S. Embassy.  Belize’s relationship with the United States has been a mutually beneficial arrangement, one which has seen a number of projects being undertaken across the country.

 

Adrienne Galanek

Adrienne Galanek, Chargé d’affaires, U.S. Embassy

“It’s part of an ongoing partnership, as you know, that we have with the government and people of Belize and in this case especially, the B.D.F..  And it goes back to actually General Jones showing the facility to Ambassador Moreno who, as you know, is our former ambassador here to Belize who departed in January.  And so when he viewed the B.D.F. he was so impressed with the facilities and the care that the staff was giving, the level of dedication to not only the B.D.F., but the BCG, as well as the communities of Lord’s Bank and Ladyville.  General Jones had asked him to renovate the hospital and so he worked along with Colonel Ramsey to get the funding for this hospital today.  We have the Special Purpose MAGTAF that’s here in the region and we have marine engineers who will be working with the B.D.F. side by side to do the hospital renovations.”

 

Leading the team of builders from the U.S. Marine Corps is Colonel Michael Samarov.  In the weeks ahead, he will oversee the construction of a new roof, as well as other areas of the medical center.

 

Michael Samarov

Col. Michael Samarov, Commanding Officer, Special Purpose MAGTAF

“I think the project is very, very important.  The building, although doctors do great work in it, has limited what it is they can accomplish.  So what we are going to do on the building is put on a new roof, along with hurricane restraints so that the building can protect those during inclement weather.  We are going to redo the plumbing in the building to make sure that there is proper sanitation and cleanliness.  As well, we’re going to install a new electrical system, new air conditioning and new lights, allowing for better treatment of patients.  I think all of these things will really enable what it is the doctors are doing here and for the local community.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“What is the timeline, in terms of the completion of the project?”

 

Col. Michael Samarov

“The project I expect to be completed by early October.”

 

Occupying the space once the renovation is finished will be Lance Corporal Dennis Belisle, a physical therapist with the B.D.F..

 

Dennis Belisle

Lance Cpl. Dennis Belisle, Physical Therapist

“After finishing that course I now resume working here at the force hospital as one of the physical therapy specialists here.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Will you have a dedicated area once this hospital has been completely refurbished where you would be able to work from?”

 

Lance Cpl. Dennis Belisle

“Okay, so I already have a dedicated area that we do clinic.  It’s just behind you where we do clinic.  So the clinic is open to the B.D.F., of course, and by extension their family members and the community.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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