BDF headquarters, Ladyville

In late December Love News broke the news of a number of reports of alleged sexually-related offences made by female soldiers within the Belize Defense Force against male soldiers dating back over the past couple years. One of the alleged incidents happened only two months ago and is so serious, that entailed a female soldier that was raped, reportedly by her superior, who is said to be HIV positive. Since the incident, the female has not reported back on duty. If it is true, itís a grave situation and when we asked him at that time, the man in charge of those complaints, Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Ortega, told us that he was only aware of one case that was two years old under police investigation. With respect to the alleged rape case, he was not aware of the incident but said that the Force was trying to find out why the female soldier has not reported back to duty. Love News spoke anonymously with two female soldiers who say they were subjected to sexual harassment dating back at least a couple years. The concern they brought up is that they were not pleased with the way their cases were handled internally by the Force. One of them said she knows about the incident involving the female soldier who was allegedly raped by her superior and told us about what she knows of that case, as well as her experience.

But Lieutenant Colonel Ortega told us that prior to us sharing the information with him of the alleged rape incident, he had no knowledge of it, but he did add that there is an inquiry ongoing now into that rape allegation.

Another female soldier who said that she too came under sexual harassment two years ago told us that she too is not happy with how her case was also dealt with by the BDF.

BDF Force Adjutant, Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Ortega.