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Dec 4, 2013

B.D.F. and Coast Guard receives over one million dollars in specialized equipment

Two weeks ago the U.S. Government gifted the B.D.F. and Coast Guard with over one million dollars in specialized equipment, to be used primarily for capacity enhancement. That early Thanksgiving treat has now been joined by an early Christmas gift to the B.D.F. from the Canadian government. It’s a significant donation of boats and equipment to be utilized specifically by the Special Assignment Group of the B.D.F., and is part of an ongoing assistance program. Today the rank and file of the B.D.F. and Canadian dignitaries and military personnel were at Price Barracks for the handing over. Mike Rudon has the story.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

In less than a month, the Belize Defence Force has received millions of dollars worth of specialized military equipment – first from the US government and now from Canada. Today’s largesse is courtesy of the Canadian government, and is funded by the Initiative for Security in Central America.


Stuart Savage, High Commissioner of Canada to Belize

Stuart Savage

“Canada is committed to enhancing good governance, human rights, prosperity and security in the Americas…and our participation here fits into that overall engagement. Our Prime Minister Steven Harper last year at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena announced a specific fund called the Initiative for Security in Central America, which was a twenty-five million dollar fund to support enhanced security capacity within the framework of our overall engagement to enhance the abilities of individual countries within the Americas…manage some of the challenges they face in terms of security, organized crime and of course their citizens’ well-being, so this contribution is I would say a contribution that reflects a benefit that could be direct for Belize but also enhances the security of the whole hemisphere so that Canada too can benefit.”


According to Canadian High Commission Stuart Savage, Belize has been chosen as a country of focus for military and political cooperation. Today’s military cooperation package is worth one point two million Canadian dollars, which works out to just over two point two million Belize dollars.


Stuart Savage

“This is just one part of a broader range of engagements that have been going on with Belize since the 1980s…and many Belizeans come to Canada for training, and Canadians coming here, and also joint training regionally for the Caribbean. So this is one part of a broader form of engagements which also includes training for forces and the setting up other capacities such as a joint operations center for the Belizean government to help it better respond to crises which it might face.”


The equipment donated today is centered around soldier systems, which means that it is focused on the capabilities of the soldieries themselves. The package includes training by the Canadian Armed Forces.


Lt. Col. Hank Szelecz, Commander, Canadian Special Forces

Lt. Col. Hank Szelecz

“When we talk about soldier systems, we talk about individual issued equipment so it ranges from the simple boots to uniforms, and these are multi-use uniforms designed for the climate such as you find in Belize, jungle type terrain and so forth. And then it ranges to more advanced stuff, in terms of surveillance gear which consists of camera equipment, night vision equipment, thermal imagery, and then we move into some very simple stuff such as tools for recovery of vehicles during the rainy season for example that enhances the mobility of the soldiers as they conduct their role.”


Brigadier General David Jones

Brigadier General David Jones, Commander, BDF

“The US and Canadians are very much interested in continuing training with the Belize Defence Force and as an extension of that they are willing to bring equipment to build our capacity to fulfill our functions here in Belize. Counter-narcotics is one of the big issues here – it affects us and it also affects them, so even though we are getting donations from them it also plays into their interests as well, because we try to stop some of the narcotics that go up north to the US and eventually into Canada as well.”


Lt. Col. Hank Szelecz

“The military relationship that Canada has with Belize is mutual. And it’s mutually beneficial. So we gain just as much training from coming here and working with and in cooperation with the Belize Defence Force because as you said you do have a very unique climate that is quite different from Canada yet as you know Canada is involved with different regions in the world as well so it enhances our own capabilities. Not only that, we learn operational lessons that the Belize Defence Force has gained through their own operations.”


Operations which will certainly be enhanced by the donation, but only if the equipment is maintained properly and utilized to its full potential. According to Brigadier General David Jones, that will not be a problem.


Brigadier General David Jones

“These equipment, especially these equipment that are being handed over today are specifically for our special forces unit, the B-SAG. We have a good accounting system. This equipment will be handed over to their quartermaster and they will put it on a ledger and keep account of it. We will do regular checks on this equipment. So whoever has signed for this equipment has to be accountable for them, so if any of them goes missing, someone has to answer for it. But rest assured this equipment is going to be well taken care of. We’ve acquired additional storage area from the British Forces since we’re here, which allows us to have even better accountability and storage space now, so these guys will have their own storage area and they’ll be able to account for it efficiently.”


At the end of the official ceremony today the Canadian military was getting ready to hand over the equipment, transported in these large containers, to B-SAG for inventory and storage. Mike Rudon reporting for News Five.

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2 Responses for “B.D.F. and Coast Guard receives over one million dollars in specialized equipment”

  1. george says:

    but nonthing for the police

  2. Al Rich says:

    More equipment, please treat them well and protect them from being stolen, by the very people who are to use and protect them. The US, Canada and other countries are trying to help us to move into the 21st century of crime detection and control.

    Please be serious about changing the countries direction and let us get on track. Now all we need is a new government that can be respected by other world government as serious, honest and professional.

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