BDF Deputy Commander Was Dismissed
Not much has been heard since last year October, when 42 guns were stolen from the BDF Price Barracks Compound.
But, quietly on December the 23rd., Deputy Commander of the BDF, Colonel (Cornel) Javier Castellanos was summarily discharged from the BDF. No press release was issued, no public announcement made, in fact Castellanos himself says he was never told why he was discharged or given a chance to defend himself.
The Security Services Commission cited a Court of Inquiry which found him in gross dereliction of duty based on an "investigation".
That investigation found that Castellanos was in charge of camp security and tasking field officers on security checks. The allegation is that Castellanos assigned security arrangements to a junior officer who ignored the order - and thus no one was watching the armoury when the guns went missing.
Well now, Castellanos is appealing his dismissal to the Belize Advisory Council. His attorney Godfrey Smith says that he was dismissed without any specific charge or any allegation of wrongdoing being brought against him, without giving him a chance to rebut any allegation against him and without being given any real reason for his discharge.
Now, the security services commissions says simply that he was discharged on security grounds - which is a catch all term that doesn't require them to disclose any details.
Castellanos argues, though, that he should have been given a hearing. He is asking the Belize Advisory council to reinstate him to the BDF at the same rank he had before he was discharged and order that he get back all the unpaid salary lost during the period of his discharge.
His attorney has also asked for oral presentations to be allowed at the hearing of the appeal. That was just two years ago, and Castellanos awaits a reply.