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Jul 19, 2018

A B.D.F. Outpost to Overlook the Western Border is in the Offing

Today’s ceremony at the western border was twofold.  Not only was the Benque/Melchor facility inaugurated, ground was also broken for the construction of a Belize Defense Force outpost atop a hill overlooking the immigration and customs department offices.  The lookout station will be put together by B.D.F. personnel attached to the Light Engineering Company and will be manned by a team of officers assigned to provide over watch to the compound below.  The area, despite the presence of Benque police, is still a hotbed for human trafficking and contraband items.  Colonel Azariel Loria is the Deputy Commander of the B.D.F.

 

Azariel Loria

Col. Azariel Loria, Deputy Commander, B.D.F.

“It was an initiative that was proposed by the Minister of National Security, the Honorable John Saldivar.  He, we have just finished the inauguration of the fence project which will assist in canalizing, if you allow me to use that word.  The people, the passengers at the western border station here in Benque Viejo.  He came up with the idea after having, he came up the hill and it’s a beautiful scenery here and it is very strategic in nature.  So hence the reason he came up with the idea, his strategic vision that he wants an outpost here.  It is something that we should do, we are in charge of maintaining the territorial integrity and sovereignty of this nation.  The military, as you know, we are always at the borders.  The Mexican military is at the border, the Guatemalan military is a hundred meters away from us, so it’s only right if we do intend to fulfill our mandate of securing the territorial integrity of this nation to have something here as well.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Now in terms of providing oversight, I’m assuming that it would be a partnership with the Border Management Agency.  Can you speak to that?”

 

Col. Azariel Loria

“As it was done with the fence project.  They provided the budget and we provided the labor, the manpower.  We have the Light Engineer Company that, those guys are capable of building stuff like that, fences, buildings, et cetera and hence the reason it’s a partnership.  We do expect that the border management will finance the project and we will build it from start to finish again.  To assist the police whenever they are overburdened down at the western border station.  We’ll be here to provide that extra support, just as we do support them in Belize City with police duties, assisting them on the streets.”

 

Reporter

“Are you able to say how significant drug-related crimes are in this particular area?”

 

Col. Azariel Loria

“At this point in time we know that it is occurring, illegal activities.  We don’t know for sure but when we have a foothold here then we will more or less quantify what’s the damage, how much drugs are passing through, weapons, illegal immigrants, et cetera.  Yeah, but at this point in time we know that there are a lot of illegal activities occurring.  Borders, our porous borders, that’s a natural thing to happen so we have to maintain presence here up the hill and adjacent to the western border station so that we can try to minimize it.”

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