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Mar 28, 2001

U.K. donates equipment to B.D.F.

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The government of the United Kingdom has demonstrated that although it no longer keeps two thousand soldiers and six Harrier jets in Belize, it is committed to helping the nation defend itself. This morning British High Commissioner Tim David and Minister of National Security Jorge Espat signed a Memorandum of Understanding under which Britain will supply the B.D.F. with over seven hundred thousand dollars in equipment.

Jorge Espat, Minister of National Security

“We want to express our unwavering gratitude to the U.K. government for its continued support of our national security. At every opportunity we get we present our case to visiting U.K. military and diplomatic officials. I believe we’re seeing the benefit of these discussions as well as the commitment of the U.K. government to help with Belize’s defence.”

Tim David, British High Commissioner

“Just this year we’ve given in the U.K. financial year, which is different from the calendar year, we’ve given just over one million pounds worth of equipment to the Belize Defence Force. We’ve given it in the form of training and equipment. Today’s contribution was for boots, webbing, other military equipment and a boat. Other items some of which have come, some of which have not, are being for training maritime equipment, for trucks, the new Defender is in there somewhere and you haven’t yet got that. It will give me great pleasure when it flies in and land. A sense of personal triumph and success as well as professional.”

Espat says that government has budgeted at least eighteen million dollars for the modernization of the B.D.F. The next shipment of equipment from the U.K. will be presented by Princess Anne on April seventeenth during her visit to Belize. In addition to equipment and training, British forces also helps the B.D.F. with valuable helicopter and logistic support. The presence of the British Army training operation based in Belize, BATSUB, also has a deterrent effect on potential aggression from our neighbour to the west.

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