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Defense Minister wraps up nationwide tour

Posted: Friday, December 2, 2016. 2:27 p.m. CST.

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By BBN Staff: Minister of Defense John Saldivar is today wrapping up his tour of BDF installations in the southern part of the country, which completes his national tour of BDF installations countrywide.

On Wednesday, Saldivar, accompanied by CEO in the Ministry of Defense Lieutenant Colonel Felix Enriquez, BDF Deputy Commander Colonel Steven Ortega, and other personnel from the Ministry of Defense, took off on a BDF Helicopter from Belmopan. They landed near the BDF Camp at Machaquila in the southern part of Cayo District, where the Minister and his team, accompanied by BDF soldiers, walked over 2 Kilometers in the jungle to reach the actual camp located on a hill.

They then visited the BDF Camp at Santa Rosa in the Toledo District, located on a hill overlooking a Guatemalan settlement just across the border. Their next stop was the BDF Camp at Cadenas near the banks of the Sarstoon River which forms Belize’s southern border with Guatemala. Saldivar and his team spent Wednesday night at the Cadenas BDF Camp; and on Thursday morning they made the arduous and challenging descent by foot from the summit of the hill, on which the camp is located, down to the base of the hill on the banks of the Sarstoon River.

From there, security forces transported Saldivar and his team by boat down the Sarstoon River all the way out to its convergence with the Caribbean Sea, where the recently constructed Forward Operating Base sits. The team then made it to Punta Gorda by boat. They later traveled by road to Fairweather Camp, and flew by helicopter to the BDF Camp at Tree Tops overlooking the Guatemalan village of Santa Cruz just across the Western Border. And finally, in the Toledo District, they drove by vehicle to the Belizean border-village of Jalacte, which is a known hotspot for illegal cross-border trade and other illicit activities.

Today, they are visiting BDF training and operation facilities in the Stann Creek District, which completes the nationwide tour of BDF installations that started back in September.

The purpose of the countrywide tour by the Minister is to assess the state of readiness and effectiveness of the BDF in executing its various functions relating to the security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Belize.

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