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Apr 15, 1999

B.D.F. receives equipment from British

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Calling it an example of Great Britain’s continuing interest in the security of Belize, the Minister of National Security Jorge Espat accepted an equipment donation this morning on behalf of the Belize Defense Force. The gift, from the British government, includes seven British made Land Rovers, navigation and telecommunication equipment, boat engines and office equipment.

Jorge Espat, Minister of National Security

“Belize and Britain have enjoyed a long friendship and association of its armed forces based on mutual respect and professionalism. These gifts, valued at over eight hundred fifty thousand dollars, will be used to assist the Belize Defense Force to assist in their primary task of protecting Belize’s territorial integrity and contribute towards their other responsibilities ranging from disaster preparedness, search and rescue missions and the prevention of crime in partnership with the rejuvenated Police Department.”

Deputy British High Commissioner Tim Stew said he hoped the occasion would emphasize the British Government’s continuing commitment to assist Belize even if it no longer maintains troops here.

Tim Stew, Deputy British High Commissioner

“I am particularly pleased because at the end of 1997 the last British loan service personnel officers left this country and I think there were fears that this sort of military assistance that they have been providing and which they operated and staffed might not disappear entirely but might be reduced as a result. I hope that the presence of this equipment here today makes it quite clear that that assistance continues whether we have loan personnel in this country or not.”

Currently the British Government maintains a jungle training unit in Belize and has expanded their training areas in the Chiquibul, Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve and Seven Hills Range. The British Army also shares hospital facilities with the B.D.F. at Airport Camp and continues to provide air service through its Gazelle and Lynx helicopters.

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