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Sep 11, 2008

BATSUB and B.D.F. investigate security breach

Story PicturePolice have not yet pressed any charges following the grenade scare at Saturday’s carnival, but the British Army Training Support Unit Belize has publicly confirmed that the explosive device came from a batch of one hundred and sixty delivered to Belize in August of 2007. BATSUB was able to identify the grenade by the serial number it carried, and now the real question is who is responsible for the breach in security that landed the grenade in the streets of Belize City, crowded with carnival revelers. BATSUB’s position is that, while the grenade was from its stock, it did not come directly from within its compound and that it could have gone missing during training exercises and that alternatively the support unit employs civilians during these exercises. Today the Belize Defence Force, which sometimes trains with British soldiers in Belize’s jungle, was quick to deflect blame.

Major Ganey Dortch, Chief of Staff, B.D.F.
“All grenades in the inventory in the B.D.F. have been accounted for. We have had a number of incidents where the B.D.F. was in question and as a result of that we have directed that they do a hundred percent checks on all our ammunition and all or weapons that is in the possession of the B.D.F. Normally the B.D.F. only provides BATRSUB with the opposing force and normally this opposing force does not deal with live ammunition or grenades. As far as we are concerned that grenade might have come from other sources and as you know when you are in the jungle and you have loose fittings, maybe that grenade might have fell from some soldier and picked up by some civilian. There’s a lot of possibilities that we are looking at right now. We have an ongoing investigation and we are assisting the police in trying to determine where that grenade might have come from.”

Marion Ali
“It’s not a breach on the B.D.F.’s part?”

Major Ganey Dortch
“It’s not a breach of the B.D.F’s part for sure. As far as we are concerned, what ever assistance we gave the British Forces Belize is in terms of opposing force in which they are only autorised to blank ammunition.”

Marion Ali
“Let me put it to you point blank sir, BATSUB is saying it’s definitely not them, B.D.F. is saying it’s definitely not them, but the grenade ended up anyway on Belize’s city streets. Who is to blame here?”

Major Ganey Dortch
“Well, as I mentioned before, we are investigating, we are looking at other possibilities and one thing that I must make you aware of is that not only does the B.D.F. deal with BATSUB, BATSUB also employees some civilians and also there are people that might have ventured into the training ground that might have come across that grenade.”

Marion Ali
“But it’s not normal that civilians would have access to these types of weapons.”

Major Ganey Dortch
“No, they don’t have access to these types of weapons. Like I said before, it might have been a soldier, it fell and someone came upon it and sells it, I Don’t know.”

But while both armies investigate how the grenade got into the wrong hands, the police continue to try to get to the bottom of who is responsible.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, Crispin Jeffries
“The reality is that there are only a few organisations and the military, the B.D.F., the Coast Guard, the British Forces Belize are the one’s who would normally legally bring grenades into the country. Any other person would bring that into the country illegally. So it was no surprise that it could have come from those. We have information to indicate that there are a lot of other grenades in the country that comes as a part of drug transshipment or cross border incidents and we’re looking at that also.”

In related news, a release from the Press Office today announced that Major James Requeña has been added to the list of awardees in this year’s Tribute to Belizean Patriots. The decision was unanimously endorsed at the last Cabinet meeting. According to the release, Requeña will receive a Meritorious Service Award for quote “bravery and dedication to duty for the way he safely disposed of a live grenade … that had been lobbed into a crowded area near the K.H.M.H. during the Carnival.” End quote. It was a stroke of good luck that Major Requeña, the Staff Office Responsible for Dangerous Goods, was in the area watching the carnival with his family when the grenade was thrown.

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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