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“There is no culture of abuse in the Belize Defense Force,” says Ministry of National Security

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Posted: Saturday, June 20, 2020. 8:52 am CST.

By BBN Staff: Following a swarm of accusations and complaints about sexual misconduct in the upper ranks of the Belize Defense Force and an ensuing investigation, ranking members  of the country’s security apparatus held a conference yesterday at the Price Barracks in Ladyville, to address some issues about the accusations.

Speaking on the investigation into the allegations, BDF Brigadier General Steven Ortega, said he was satisfied that it was carried out thoroughly and was complete.

“I believe it was thorough…” Otega said. “It showed that we need to be more selective of which instructors are assigned and we have to do a little more vetting to ensure that we have the right people doing the training.”

Ortega said the investigation revealed numerous changes that need to be made at various levels within the BDF for the safety and security of its officers. He also noted that most of the recommendations coming out of the investigation have been implemented already, so by the time the next batch of recruits are taken into the force, all should be in place.

“I don’t believe there is a culture (of sexual assault against female officers) it might be a one-off, two-off incident that we try and address immediately, because that is not something we want to perpetrate here in the force.”

The report emerged from the scathing situation with a new Sexual Harassment Policy, which Breaking Belize News will be analyzing in another article.

In January it came to light that there were upwards of 60 different complaints in the BDF, from female recruits that said they were violated by their commanding officers. Some reports even suggest that one or more female recruits may have even gotten pregnant by  a senior officer during training. Some documentation regarding those reports were even leaked to the media, putting additional pressure on the force to carry out the investigation.

 

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