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Feb 11, 2013

British Army coming back for a visit

Wilfred Elrington

In November of 2011, the British Army Training Support Unit closed up shop and headed home after citing financial constraints. But now, they might be coming back – or at least that’s what Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, stated during his address at a B.D.F. passing out ceremony a week ago. Now that’s big news and today Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington confirmed the ongoing discussions. Elrington says it’s got nothing to do with the Belize/Guatemala dispute and everything to do with resources which come with the British Army.

 

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“For some time, we have been talking to the British because we have the need particularly for things like helicopters. You know the jungle back there is very far, it is very difficult to penetrate and when there is any incidents back there, it is very difficult to get to the people who are wounded. So we have long wanted to get helicopter assistant. We have talked to the Canadians, we have talked to the British and the British has the BATSUB here—I think in small numbers, but is used to train their own military personnel. We were hoping that they would be able to enhance their presence here and by enhancing their presence, bring equipment and training that we benefitting from. So to that extend, we have in fact been negotiating with them to try to see if they can enhance their presence here and to bring back these helicopters and the like that we find so necessary. I spoke to one of the under-secretary when I was in Chile last month and he indicated to me that he was fairly optimistic, but the British are going through very difficult economic times and so they have to be very careful how they deploy their resources, but he thought that there was a good chance that we would perhaps get an enhancement of the BATSUB presence.”

 

In 1994, the main body of British troops was pulled out; leaving behind a small training unit, BATSUB. As early as 2010, the British government claimed defense cuts and started making preparations to shut down the unit. Doors were closed at the end of 2011.

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5 Responses for “British Army coming back for a visit”

  1. Hector Silva. says:

    My political instinct tells me, that the British Army would NOT HAVE LEFT. They would have established a full permanent training ground, if they would have been requested. I have been told that a FALSE National Pride prevailed over good reasoning. LET US JUST go back to that period when there were many JOINT MILITARY EXERCISES. Armies as far as Singapore, and as near as the Caribbean joined the British on these maneuvers. WHY ? Because Belize possesses the Terrain, Water ways and Jungles so appropriate for this type of training. Many friendly countries would readily take this offer if offered. BUT WILL WE ?

  2. Rum Drum says:

    @ Hector Silva.
    I suggest that you do a little google research on the British Army review committee which was tasked with identifying bases which should be closed down. They recommended Belize as one of them. You should also check out who were the members of the committee. I bet you will be very surprised.

  3. Storm says:

    The Brits indeed closed down foreign military posts and operations very quickly at the end of 2011, and it was our loss in many ways. It helped our economy, and more important, a Brit presence here is a little deterrent to the Guats. Just ask the Argentines!

    Personally, I welcome the return of the Brits. They are very capable and professional, and some of those qualities can rub off and improve BDF, which I think is the best institution in our government. I’d likewise welcome US and Taiwanese military to come train here frequently, and for the same reasons.

  4. Joe says:

    The British Army should have never left Belize. As a Belizean I swear loyalty to the British Crown,
    swear to Defend the Queen of England from any foreign aggression, and this also goes to defend England if requested by the Crown, So at the end of the day my fellow Belizean I sleep in peace that England will never let any foreign aggressor destroy our Democracy.

    Belize should be proud of who we are today as if it was not for the British Crown we would not be who we are today. A proud nation, Jewel of the Caribbean sea and Central America
    I say ” long live The Queen of England and Belize.

  5. Genotu Rembiuos says:

    I said it long time ago, give back Belize to the British, see the difference, less police aggression etc.etc.
    Less GOV CORRUPTION!!!!
    AND NO GUATEMALA !!!!!
    WE WILL FOREVER BE BELIZE !!!!
    ICJ ??????
    GUATEMALA WILL NEVER GIVE UP IT`S CLAIM ON BELIZE, IT`S ALL POLITICS.
    GUATEMALA HAS SO MUCH INTERNAL PROBLEMS THAT THE BELIZE CLAIM COMES HANDY.
    YES, SWELLING GUATEMALANS HEAD OF RICHNESS AND FORTUNE BY CLAIMING BELIZE, AND GUATEMALAN PEOPLE TAKING THE BAIT !!!
    NO TO ICJ !!!

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