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Nov 25, 2009

US armed forces hands over supplies to NGOs

25937It’s the season for giving and six organizations are benefiting from a large supply of medical and educational material. The donation was made today by the U.S. armed forces to the Belize Defense Force for onward distribution to the Non Governmental Organizations. A representative from the U.S. Embassy was on hand to make the delivery. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting
Members of the armed forces from the United States met with their counterparts at the B.D.F. Air wing in Ladyville today for the handing over of a generous donation. But this time, it was not the usual gift of military equipment; it was the proceeds of Project Handclasp.

Captain Rudy Laco, Mission Commander, US Task Group
“The Project Handclasp Program is a program from the US Navy that reached out to the non-governmental organizations that provided donated material to kinda help us extend friendships around the world and help us with materials that are needed like medical supplies and education materials that allow us to work with the countries that we visit and offer a token of friendship.”

Sharon Featherstone, Charge D’Affaires, US Embassy
“We are very honoured to be able to do what we can do to better things for a number of people, to assist with training. Today what we have done is we have handed over forty-five pallets of medical supplies, hygiene kits, educational materials and toys. We are very proud that we are able to do this. Yesterday, as a matter of fact, we handed over sixty-four pallets of approximately ninety-four thousand educational textbooks that will be distributed again through non-governmental means to the schools of Belize and the children of Belize.”

The organizations that will benefit from the donation are based in Belize District and Belmopan.

Carlos Perdomo, Minister of National Security
“It’s about six or seven of them; Liberty Orphanage in Ladyville, Sister Cecilia Home for the Elderly in Belize City. the others are in Belmopan City; Marla’s House of Hope, Hazel Hutchinson’s Day care for the Elderly, King’s Children’s Home and Garden City Primary School.”

Evan Dakers, Chairman, Helpage Belmopan
“I am extremely happy. In fact, as I was saying today, we do have a program in which we expect to have a doctor who will be taking care of the elderly at least two days per week. We have a room and we have most of the facilities but what we don’t have is the medication so this really comes in as a Godsend and I feel extremely happy about it.”

Dacia Tillett, Principal, Liberty Learning Center
“I feel overjoyed to know that all these medical supplies, the food, the backpack, our children at Liberty Children’s Home will be a part of it. I’m so, so happy for them. I want to say a big thank you to the B.D.F. for taking the initiative to work with the US government to make this be a success and I want to say to the US government a big thank you.”

Apart from today’s donation of supplies, the US currently has several other projects underway in Belize.

Carlos Perdomo
“I don’t know the exact value but they tell me that these pallets that are going to the non-government organizations are worth like over a hundred thousand dollars. But at the same time we have the US Marine Corp doing training with the B.D.F. so that’s another cost. And then we have a dental clinic and renovation of a school in Belmopan.”

Sharon Featherstone
“I think the relationship between our two countries is so strong because we’re both strong democratic societies that value human rights, we partner in these areas together and as everyone here in Belize knows, many of your citizens live in my country and many of my citizens live in yours and together we form a very powerful and committed partnership.”

The items donated through Project Handclasp were collected in Jacksonville, Florida. Delahnie Bain for News Five.


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