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Mar 16, 2020

Can a Soldier Refuse a Command from his Superior?

Among the factors that could have contributed to the fatal crash was the use of cell-phone to communicate, poor weather conditions and the lack of night vision equipment. One of the questionable points from the preliminary report by the Belize investigative team, presented during a press conference last week by the Ministry of National Security, is that Major Adran Ramirez, the Commander of the B.D.F. Air Wing, had the final say in carrying out the operation. The Minister of National Security stated that Ramirez had the option not to conduct the mission.  As a retired colonel, we asked C.E.O. George Lovell if a soldier can refuse a command from his superior.


(Ret.) Col. George Lovell, C.E.O., Ministry of National Security

“You can refuse an unlawful order. In other words, I cannot order you to go and kill somebody; I cannot order you to go and kill yourself. I cannot order you to do anything that is unlawful. If I give you a lawful command, you are expected to carry out that command.”


George Lovell

Duane Moody

“…which is to go and do this reconnaissance or do whatever activity they went to do?”


(Ret.) Col. George Lovell

“If it is lawful, you are expected to carry out that command. You hear what I am saying. So nothing has changed and this is the way how all militaries operate or all uniform service. You have to carry out a lawful order or command.”


Duane Moody

“So wasn’t he carrying out a lawful order or command sir?”


(Ret.) Col. George Lovell

“Well if he did yes. Then he has to carry it out.”


Duane Moody

“Okay so the onus is not on him.”


(Ret.) Col. George Lovell

“The onus is on you in terms of technical. For example, if you are a person who is a technical expert to say that this thing cannot fly, then nobody else can’t tell you yo wah fly it even though it can’t fly.”

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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