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Mar 7, 2019

Are the Brits Planning to Set Up a Military Base in Belize?

John Saldivar

The Brits are reportedly looking to expand their military presence in the Caribbean.  They have confirmed as much, but it is left to be seen where they will increase their footprint in the region. It is reported that they want to become more visible on this side of the world following their exit from the European Union. Publications in the UK and Guyana have reported that the British have been looking at Montserrat or Guyana to build a military base to establish that confidence and presence. But after further investigation, UK’s The Morning Star says that they have learnt there was uncertainty about the two suggested locations, but that there may be discussions afoot to upgrade the British training camp’s base in Belize.  If you’ll recall in September of last year, officials from the British Government visited Belize to sign a revised MOU for the UK Armed Forces jungle warfare training but there was no mention of a military base. On Wednesday, Minister of Defence John Saldivar was asked about the reports in the UK media.

 

John Saldivar, Minister of National Security

“As far as I am aware there has been no discussion about setting up a military base in Belize. What I do know is that the British are interested in increasing their training here in Belize. They are very satisfied with the terrain and the facilities and the assistance received from the BDF and so we can expect, I believe, in the next few months and years for them to continue to increase their training presence in Belize.”

 

Reporter
“If a conversation were to be broached, Belize being a sovereign nation in charge of its own defense, but yet having known vulnerabilities. Would the government of Belize be amenable or welcoming to such a proposal were it to be broached?”

 

John Saldivar
“Given the current climate and the current claim with Guatemala, we have always welcomed some sort of defence guarantee from the British and certainly if that is in the form of the establishment of a base, I’m sure our government would give it positive consideration.”

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