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Brigadier General Azariel Loria takes command of Belize Defence Force

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Posted: Monday, January 24, 2022. 1:04 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The fifteenth man to take command of the national army, the Belize Defence Force, formally ascended on Friday afternoon at Price Barracks, Ladyville during its celebration of its forty-fourth anniversary.

Brigadier General Azariel Loria takes over from retired Brigadier General Steven Ortega, who stepped down last December. He was sworn in by Acting Chief Justice Michelle Arana, overseen by Prime Minister John Briceño and Governor-General Froyla Tzalam as well as various diplomatic and military representatives.

The new commander reminded the Force of its vision statement, to be dedicated, combat-ready and professional; to be a credible deterrent to threats internal and external; to maintain and enhance healthy partnerships with both local and regional and international partners to maintain security and the rule of law, and be robust and agile to incorporate new technology embrace change and develop its human resources and capabilities to contribute to the stability, security, and prosperity of Belize.

General Loria stated, “A large organization such as the BDF deployed nationwide, makes command and control be difficult at times. With that said, it is my intent to make good use of the senior leadership in building the team because it is not about me, but only from the strength and wisdom of the team that we will achieve that dynamism needed to keep improving and moving the Force forward.” He added that leaders must be humble, innovative, and transformational from top to bottom, and be able to identify gaps in the system and adapt to overcome them through trust in self and others.

The Prime Minister referred to the “routineness” of our transition of command as “the cornerstone of who we are and what we believe in as Belizeans – a society of free men and women who believe in the supremacy of God and desire to live in a free and democratic nation,” compared to other nations where it is less so.

And he noted that General Loria is fully aware that he is here to serve this nation and to uphold our democratic principles and our values which are rooted in our peaceful, constructive, progressive, and authentic Belizean revolution, and would continue to honor and nurture the talent and capacity of the men and women he said have performed their duties more bravely and capably, he suggested, than any other of the uniformed forces, and thus Belize’s pride and joy.

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