Thursday, May 15, 2014.AARON HUMES Reporting: Belize City residents may have noticed that there are no Belize Defence Force soldiers on the streets as there have been previously, conspicuously standing next to police officers in crime-ridden areas.
That has been so since April 30 of this year, putting an end to 20 years of extra domestic duty for the national army.
It’s comparable to the draw-down of American and British soldiers leaving Iraq and Afghanistan except that those are international conflicts and not internal.
CEO in the Ministry of National Security Retired Colonel George Lovell confirmed the shift in speaking with reporters today.
He said that while the days of soldiers keeping watch in crime-ridden areas of Belize City may not be fully over, it has been decided to remove them except for special occasions like holidays, when a smaller force will be deployed in a support capacity to Police.
Most of the redeployed soldiers will be sent to protect the Western borderline with Guatemala.
In other news from the Ministry of National Security, at Wednesday’s ceremony for a donation of police vehicles by the U.S. Embassy, CEO in the Ministry of National Security Col. George Lovell made an entreaty to his American partners for assistance of a different kind – helicopter support.
The Americans have sent helicopters to be used in major drug operations, but CEO Lovell made the case for more consistent usage, especially for operations in the most remote regions of the country and search and rescue and medical evacuations.
According to the CEO he has included the British, whose BATSUB base closed down a few years ago, and the Canadians in his call. All three countries jointly operate a base at BDF headquarters at Price Barracks, Ladyville.
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