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Jan 31, 2020

B.D.F. Celebrates 42nd Anniversary with 101 New Soldiers

The ranks of the Belize Defense Force grew by a one hundred and one soldiers today. After undergoing rigorous training, the young men and women donned their uniforms this afternoon as they officially became members of the B.D.F.   The event was held at Price Barracks in Ladyville and it is traditional for the Minister of National Security to deliver the main address; but this time John Saldivar missed the occasion. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo was there and has the following report.


Hipolito Novelo, Reporting 

One hundred and one disciplined young men and women today joined the Belize Defense Force as they proudly stood at attention in their uniforms. Fourteen of the graduates are female.


Steven Ortega

Brigadier General Steven Ortega, Commander, Belize Defence Force

“I know how this moment feels like when you are out there in the square and coming off. And now being the general commanding the force I also feel that same excitement that I did so many years ago because I know how they are feeling right now to finally graduate and basically become shoulder to shoulder with the other guys who have been doing this job for many years. I am sure it is a great feeling for them.”


Intake number sixty-five endured weeks of mental and physical training. They are now battle-ready to defend Belize even though three of them fainted, giving in to the scorching sun and what Brigadier General Steven Ortega described as the excitement for today.


Brigadier General Steven Ortega

“They tense up. If you stay relax you can withstand most of it. But I guess the crowd and everything and the hype of graduation, you know when you graduate you get that extra hype and it is just too much adrenaline. You notice that most of them after a while they walked off because they have died down because the adrenaline died down so they are alright.”


The achievements of several of the newly installed soldiers were a highlight during the passing out ceremony today at the Sir Colville Young Parade Square in Price Barracks in Ladyville. Recruit Karlon Kingston was recognized for Best Shot while recruits Clint Stephenson and Augustine Ack were recognized for Champion Field Craft and Champion Physical Training respectively. This year champion female is recruiting Ajahney Carr and the champion male is recruit Shane Kyle Ciego.

Absent for today’s event was Minister of National Security John Saldivar who was represented by Anthony Martinez.


Anthony Martinez

Anthony Martinez, Minister of Human Development 

“The B.D.F. recruit training is designed to make you tougher both mentally and physically and only the strongest survive. It involves physical training, practical and theoretical courses extending well into the night. Today’s graduation indicates they have all displayed satisfactory proficiency in foot drills, skills and arms, first aid, map reading, navigation, military communication, the law of arm conflicts, tactics both convention and non conventional, jungle warfare and internal security. These new soldiers will bring added reinforcement to the B.D.F. and allow the force to be better out of its mandates to defend the territorial integrity of Belize.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.

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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