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Sep 9, 2005

B.D.F. develops national military strategy

Story PictureOn Monday at the opening of a military seminar, Minister of Defence Vildo Marin spoke of the many threats facing Belize. These include trans-national organised crime involving illicit drugs, human smuggling, arms trafficking, and money laundering, not to mention challenges such as corruption, environmental degradation, terrorism, natural disasters, and pandemics like HIV/AIDS and Dengue. But just how prepared are we as a nation to effectively respond to these threats? That’s the question the seminar’s participants tried to answer as they formalised the first National Military Strategy. Besides a strong presence by the Belize Defence Force, the one-week intensive session had the participation of the Police Department, Customs Department, and the Central Bank of Belize. It was facilitated by retired U.S. Army Colonel Bernard F. Griffard. Griffard, who is an associate professor in Strategic Military Logistics Operations and Planning at the U.S. Army War College, says they examined the B.D.F.’s capabilities, and discussed what needs to be done to ensure the N.M.S. objectives are met.

Col. Bernard F. Griffard, U.S. Army (Ret’d)
“Such as defending the sovereignty of the country or assisting the police in law enforcement and then they looked at their structure and identified some?what they considered some immediate shortfalls that they will probably continue to work with and hopefully go forward and try to improve their capability with that.”

Brig. Gen. Lloyd Gillett, Commandant, Bz. Defence Force
“At the current moment, we don?t have a national military strategy and so what we have been doing is strategy by default. So we thought it necessary because of the myriad threats facing the security, stability, and prosperity of Belize to come up with a national military strategy that we could show people and get people to buy in, so we are all working towards the same objectives.”

Russell Blackett, Assistant Superintendent of Police
“As the primary law enforcement authority in the country?and I will use their motto, we work shoulder to shoulder with them and whatever work we do with the intelligence sharing part of it, we communicate on a daily basis and we are always trying to enhance our working together within the country of Belize.”

Victor Tillett, Senior Customs Examiner
“I think it is important for us to be involved in a system because we work hand in hand, meaning we are a part of the primary enforcement agency and they work from time to time along with us. This strategy, what we actually did was to give them ideas and insights of how we can assist them in creating their military strategy.”

Col. Bernard F. Griffard
“How would I characterise the B.D.F.? It’s one of the most professional forces I have run into in Latin America, they are good.”

Meanwhile, B.D.F. Commandant Lloyd Gillett says his army has been adequately coping with their responsibilities, but if they continue to work at the current operational tempo, it will be hard for them to deal with other situations that may emerge. However, he does not believe the force is stretched too thin.

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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