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Jun 17, 2021

B.D.F. Says Training Cannot Be Withheld for Soldiers Who Do Not Get Vaccinated

And for their part, is the Belize Defence Force using training opportunities as a means of forcing soldiers to take the vaccine?  That’s a complaint that came to News Five where some soldiers felt that they were being forced to take the vaccine or else training and other professional development courses would be withheld.  They were issued with a declaration form that reads, “…I fully understand that refusal to do so will result in me not being able to partake in future training or courses provided by, through, or in partnership with the Belize Defence Force.”  Today, when we spoke with Chief of Staff of the B.D.F. Anthony Velasquez, we asked him about this form and the vaccination rate within the B.D.F.


On the Phone: Lt. Col. Anthony Velasquez, Chief of Staff, B.D.F

“It wasn’t distributed to all the members of the BDF. It originated from first battalion stationed at the Belizario Camp in the Cayo District. And that originated from the battalion commander and it went against the BDF policy on vaccination. Our policy is that it isn’t compulsory so the soldiers voluntarily take the vaccine that is offered.  So, the battalion commander will be called in and counseled and issued further guidance.”


Andrea Polanco

“The persons had informed us here at News Five that they were being told that if they don’t take the vaccine they are not eligible for like training opportunities. That is not an incentive that the B.D.F. is pushing, right?”


On the Phone: Lt. Col Anthony Velasquez

“No, definitely not. That goes against our policy and so that will be cancelled. We offer the vaccine to our soldiers every Tuesdays and Thursdays and so far about just under ten percent of the force taken the vaccine already, gotten the first shot and some of them take the second shot already.”


Andrea Polanco

“Why do you think the number is so low for the number of officers who have taken the vaccine; is there some sort of fear? What’s going on?”


On the Phone: Lt. Col Anthony Velasquez

“Well, we are a microcosm of the general society and so whatever fear or doubt exists in the general society exists here as well but we try our best to encourage our people to take the vaccine.”

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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