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Nov 15, 2013

U.S. Government gifts the B.D.F. and Coast Guard vehicles and equipment

Today, the Belize Defense Force and the Belize Coast Guard received a significant donation from the United States Government. The operational capabilities of both branches of Belize’s armed forces have been taxed, as the demand for the unique services they provide outstrip their resources. The U.S. Government, through its Southern Command, continues to provide essential equipment, training and logistical support. There have been extended discussion and lobbying efforts in recent months by both the Coast Guard and the B.D.F., and SouthCom has come through again with the donation of vehicles, a vessel and essential peripheral equipment. The handing over was this morning, and Mike Rudon has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

The sky was gloomy and rain was constant, but nothing could dampen the spirits of the men and women of the BDF and Coast Guard, who were on hand to accept a very sizeable donation. The vehicles, boat and equipment were funded through Southcom’s counter-drug program, and were received with appreciation by Belize’s Minister of National Security John Saldivar.

 

John Saldivar

John Saldivar, Minister of National Security

“The US Government’s action of cooperation is aligned with Belize’s strategy of security for this nation and by extension the region. Our bilateral cooperation and communication have been harmonized and deepened. It is pleasing to note that the US cooperation is constantly being aligned with the fight against crime and violence and the maintenance of stability which are fundamental objectives of our national security strategy.”

 

The donation has significant financial value, but much more than that in terms of enhancing the operational strengths of the BDF and Coast Guard. Both have been forced to play increasingly vital roles in preserving Belize’s security.

 

Margaret Hawthorne

Margaret Hawthorne, Chargé d’Affaires, US Embassy

“This equipment represents an investment that will yield major long term security progress in our nation and will enable the Belize military forces to address the transnational threats of terrorism and illicit trafficking of humans, weapons, drugs and merchandise. Today the Belize Coast Guard is receiving one Boston Whaler 370 Outrage Justice Series Boat, right over there, twelve complete sets of maritime dive gear, three Panasonic laptops, two sets of maintenance tools, one hydraulic outboard engine hoist and one motor backup test tank.”

 

Rear Admiral John Borland, Commandant, Belize Coast Guard

“This is the seventh boat we’ve received to date as part of that plan and of course this boat gives us the capability that the old Colombians couldn’t give us which is better sea-keeping quality, better platforms to operate, better surveillance capability, better communications capability, use for mounting our weapons and keeping our crew out of the elements during fall weather as we’re experiencing today so this is certainly a huge upgrade to enhance Coast Guard operations.”

 

John Borland

Those operations have been expanded to include patrols to the limit of Belize’s territorial waters. The Coast Guard has spread itself over three areas of operations – sector north, sector south and sector central. All three regions will have a forward operating base capable of mobilizing at a moment’s notice.

 

Rear Admiral John Borland

“Each of these bases has their own set of responsibilities from law enforcement, humanitarian operations, military operations, environmental protection, fisheries protection, the whole gamut of responsibilities that are included in the Coast Guard Act. So we maintain these forward operating bases and patrols three hundred and sixty five days of the year. There’s not a day that goes by that the Coast Guard isn’t present within our area of responsibility which I say at this point extends to the limit of our territorial seas.”

 

For Brigadier General David Jones, the vehicles are the result of a discussion which started two years ago with the US Military Liaison office in Belize. The vehicles come with other gifts as well, which are just as welcome.

 

Margaret Hawthorne

“The Belize Defense Force is receiving three Jeep J-eight transport vehicles, three Jeep J-eight Patrol vehicles, and one Jeep J-eight Ambulance which will enhance the B.D.F.’s force projection capabilities and combat power sustainment while operating in Belize’s challenging terrain. The B.D.F. is also receiving one hundred body armour vests, four Panasonic laptops, one tool package and two uninterrupted power supplies.”

 

Brig. Gen. David Jones, Commander, B.D.F.

David Jones

“These vehicles are going to be used for our quick reaction forces, for soldiers who will deploy on emergency operations – be it from here at Price Barracks, Fairweather Camp in Punta Gorda or in the Cayo district – especially in the Cayo district where we have the need for off-road capability, these jeeps are perfect. In the past we’ve had the British Land Rovers but we don’t have those anymore, so these are going to substitute of them, giving us that off-road capability to deploy quickly, get into difficult or challenging terrain to interdict the narcotics efforts coming into Belize.”

 

One of the rigged, all terrain vehicles is an ambulance, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

 

Brig. Gen. David Jones

“Our medical center has been in need of an ambulance for quite some time and one of the J-eight vehicles is actually an ambulance that is very rugged and is able to go to areas like the Mountain Pine Ridge or all the way to the Caracol ruin where we had the shooting incident in the past and we need a rugged ambulance to go off-road, be it behind the Mountain Pine Ridge or the Baldy Beacon Area when our soldiers are doing training and if there is any injury we have an ambulance that is going to be on spot, rugged enough to get them in and out of that terrain.”

 

The vessels and equipment come with sustained training packages both in Belize and in training schools in the US. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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4 Responses for “U.S. Government gifts the B.D.F. and Coast Guard vehicles and equipment”

  1. Rod says:

    It doesn’t matter how much equipment is given to this gov. Because they themselves are corrupt and thief from the pm down I bet in three months all this equipment will be delapidatedd and all the parts will be sold.

  2. Al Rich says:

    As much equipment and vehicles as the US has given to Belize we should have a nice fleet of vehicles, and equipment. What I have seen is that the people who drive these vehicles so badly, that in no time they look like a piece of crop.

    I hope that these vehicles do not become for personal use. We have seen that happen, where employees of government are allowed to take vehicles home and then drive drunk and crash them.
    This is why we always have tore up vehicles and equipment, there is no value place on aid given to the country.

  3. Eye in the Sky says:

    Nice looking Jeeps and boats.

    I bet they are bugged and satellite tracked the U.S of A.

    They will all be destroyed within a matter of months.

  4. Dumb Guy says:

    I like how the umbrellas are held so that the Minister gets the run off from both…. oooops, sorry mite.

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