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Feb 4, 2014

…He says he has been let him down, but the B.D.F. says not so

Raymond Shepherd

Corporal Rodriguez feels that the B.D.F. has let him down, and feels that he is being given the runaround. Today News Five was in Price Barracks, where we discovered that the force is trying to raise the funding to pay for Rodriguez’s surgical procedure and recovery, but the reality is that there is no money available. B.D.F. Chief of Staff Colonel Raymond Shepherd confirmed today that they have done and will continue to do all they can to assist Rodriguez, but they are now looking at the Ministry of Health, which has the mandate to assist in such circumstances.


Col. Raymond Shepherd, Chief of Staff, B.D.F.

“When they did an evaluation, they found out that his illness deteriorated drastically. So again they tried the same procedures that worked in 2007 and the same medication but that did not prove to be of any help. So we took him to Mexico City where they did an evaluation and the prognosis from that was that he needed to do a surgery. The assessment alone cost us upwards of thirty-four thousand dollars. The best estimate at that time, this was in October of 2012 that just to start the surgery it would cost upwards of ninety thousand dollars. Of course the Belize Defense Force is not in the position to spend that kind of money; we do not have that kind of money; that kind of money is not allocated to us for medical treatment. So he returned to Belize and we’ve been investigating other alternative means of getting this surgery done. One such effort was to contact some specialists in the U.S. to see if they can come down and do the surgery. But when we sent up the detail to them, they advised us that based on the type of illness, the seriousness of it, it is best for us to take him out of the country where the specialized equipment is available. That is the point where we are at right now.”


Elfrin Reyes

Major Elfrin Reyes, Force Medical Officer

“His condition has progressed just initially with headaches. He also had seizures and eventually back from 2007 to 2011, the condition has deteriorated to where he has shown some weakness in the right side of the body. He has responded well to medication however the options in this case, primarily based on the side of the malformation would be surgery. There is also the new technology—not available in Belize, only Mexico and the U.S.—is radiation to see if that will minimize the size of the malformation.”


Col. Raymond Shepherd

“All members of the Belize Defense Force, it is a part of the contract to serve the country and in turn they supposed to get medical coverage.”


Mike Rudon

“Is that full medical coverage including the type of surgery we are talking about right now?”


Col. Raymond Shepherd

“Medical coverage in terms of what is available in Belize; that the Ministry of Health could provide.”


Chief of Staff Colonel Raymond Shepherd took the opportunity to appeal to the Ministry of Health for assistance in funding the procedure needed for Corporal Norman Rodriguez. If the B.D.F. is unable to source the funding, eventually Rodriguez will be taken before the Medical Board and retired from the force. Because of the circumstances, he would receive benefits comparable to his retiring at pensionable age.

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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4 Responses for “…He says he has been let him down, but the B.D.F. says not so”

  1. Al Rich says:

    The poor people die from lack of some basic necessities, while the ministers write checks, use government money to help their families. My heart goes out to this young man and his family.

  2. alberto lagos says:

    medical coverage available in Belize,tylenol and water but Penner with depression because cannot thief no more is rushed out of the country to get treatment, what a joke?

  3. Elgin Martinez says:

    So why should young Belizeans continue serving in the BDF if they can’t be afforded medical assistance.This is a life threatening condition shame on the GOB.

  4. LOL says:

    DISTASTEFUL Government

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