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Jul 26, 2012

Belize Advisory Council orders reinstatement of Col. Javier Castellans

Javier Castellanos

There is justice for Colonel Javier Castellanos. Seven months after he was removed from the Belize Defence Force as Deputy Commandant, Castellanos has been cleared by the Belize Advisory Council and re-instated to return to post as second in command at the B.D.F.  He heads to the Ministry of National Security in Belmopan this Friday, letter in hand, to get instructions and Castellanos says he is eager to get back on duty. News Five’s Isani Cayetano looks back at the circumstances that led to his discharge from the force.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Former Deputy Commandant Javier Castellanos was relieved of his post as second in command of the Belize Defense Force on December twenty-third, 2011, in the wake of a daring burglary at the B.D.F.’s Price Barracks compound in Ladyville.   The unexplained circumstances surrounding the disappearance of an arsenal of forty-two high-powered weapons from the armory was reported to the media on October twelfth.

 

Col. Javier Castellanos, Deputy Commander, B.D.F. [File: October 12th, 2011]

“Our initial investigations have revealed that a total of twenty-two M16 A1 rifles which are unserviceable, two M4 commander rifles also unserviceable, eleven nine millimeter berretta pistols which are serviceable and seven M4 carbine rifles which are serviceable. And they are reported missing from the weapons bulk store which gives a total of forty-two weapons being thirty-one of them rifles and eleven pistols. Of these, seven of the rifles are serviceable and eleven pistols are serviceable.”

 

Colonel Castellanos, who was holding over in the absence of Brigadier General Dario Tapia, as well as three other officers, was summarily dismissed without first appearing before a military tribunal.  Castellanos, through Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith, subsequently challenged the decision of the Security Service Commission by appealing his case before the Belize Advisory Council.

 

Col. Javier Castellanos [File: June 4th, 2012]

“In the month of November, 2011, I, Col. Castellanos, was placed on administrative leave for no purpose or reason at all. On the twenty-third of December, 2011 I was informed officially that I was discharged from the Belize Defense Force under Section 25 Part 1, Paragraph F on security grounds, effective that date, myself, Warrant Officer Roy Flores and two other junior officers. On the fourth of January, 2012 my attorney, Mr. Godfrey Smith, filed a notice of appeal on my behalf to the Belize Advisory Council. I received no further reason or explanation until the second of May, 2012 via my attorney Mr. Smith in a response from the Solicitor General’s Office to the Advisory Council and they are saying that the grounds for my discharge is that the Security Services Commission is in the view that myself and the other three officers acted in gross dereliction of duty.”

 

On July thirteenth, the board met to weigh the submissions and evidence presented in the matter.  After thoroughly examining the merits of the case the council has allowed Castellanos’ appeal by dismissing the decision of the Security Services Commission.

 

Via phone: Col. Javier Castellanos

“They ruled in my favor and they set aside the decision of the Security Service Commission and that I be reinstated as Deputy Commander of the Belize Defense Force with all benefits.  And that is as far as the communication between the Advisory Council and my legal representative.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“When you say all benefits, does this mean that you will be compensated for the time that you were out of service?”

 

Col. Javier Castellanos

“Yes, my appeal was based on the fact that I was wrongfully and illegally discharged with effect of twenty-third December, in the year 2011 and the benefits that are due to me in respect of the illegal discharge.”

 

While a date for his return has not been set, the twenty-four year veteran, even after his release still prided himself a public servant.  Castellanos now eagerly awaits the day he will reappear in military regalia.

 

Via Phone: Col. Javier Castellanos

“Even when I was discharged I considered myself, and I still consider myself a soldier and a servant of this nation.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Is there any love lost between yourself and the rank of the B.D.F.?”

 

Via Phone: Col. Javier Castellanos

“Certainly not.  I am a professional officer, I was quite privileged to have been trained at some of the best military academies and institutions and I am a professional.  I have certainly nothing to hold against the rankings of the Belize Defense Force and I look forward to returning and serving the Belize Defense Force and the country of Belize.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

 

We still haven’t heard the response from the ministry of national security on if and when Castellanos will report to duties.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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4 Responses for “Belize Advisory Council orders reinstatement of Col. Javier Castellans”

  1. Rod says:

    The ones that should be fired are still in their position like the traitors barrow, perdomo, Elrington, on and on these are the real traitors who should be in jail not only fired but in jail for incompetence corruption and traitorous behavior.

  2. Uncle Benji says:

    Welcome bacl colonel! However, the BDF better get it together or else they will lose more weapons. Now if this man was so goddam incompetent, that guns were stolen on his beat, why would they put this fool back into the same position?

    Crazy is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.

  3. KRISTY says:

    CONGRATULATIONS COLONEL, I AM PROUD OF YOU, BECAUSE JUSTICE WAS SERVED! ROD SAID IT RIGHT, THE TRAITORS SHOULD BE IN JAIL… THIS MAN IS A VETERAN, NO ONE DESERVED TO BE DISMISSED FOR NO REASON AT ALL. THIS MAN DESERVED A PUBLIC APOLOGY FROM EVERYONE WHO TALKED BAD ABOUT HIM. HE HAS FOUGHT BRAVELY FOR THIS COUNTRY AND I MUST SAY THAT I AM GLAD AND EXTREMELY PROUD OF HIM! CONGRATULATIONS TIO LANDY! WE ALL LOVE YOU, AND WE KNOW THAT GOD IS NOT SLEEPING!

  4. Celsita Castellanos says:

    I would first of all like to introduce myself, I am Celsita Castellanos and Deputy Commandant Javier Castellanos is my brother. I would like to say congratulations to my brother and thanks to the Belize Advisory Council for giving my brother a fair trial unlike the PSC that decided to take matters in their own hands thus so disrespecting both my brother and the BAC. Congratulations especially to Attorney Godfrey Smith for representing my brother and winning his appeal. Unfortunately today I was informed that the PSC is not happy with this decision and is now saying they will take this matter to a higher court of law, my question is why: Is this a personal or political vendetta? Please, I would like to know and also what is the use of naming or selecting the Belize Advisory Council if you the Public Service Commission will disrespect and disobey their decisions. I was once a Public Servant and from personal experience can say that the PSC is very bias. To you all who are disrespecting my brother make sure you get your facts right before you comment or criticize and just hope you are not in a similar situation where you are being accused unjustly.

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