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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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In speaking of an ongoing process to conduct a Strategic Defence and Security Review for Belize, Brigadier General Dario Tapia, Commander of the Belize Defence Force (BDF), cautioned that if the nation is not prepared to deal with existing threats, which are bound to expand in the area of narcotics, it could very well lose the battle.

"The dynamics have changed for the country; the threat is constantly evolving," said Tapia. "When you prepare for one threat, you find out that it has evolved; it has changed.

"Currently, we are keeping in mind the cartels operating in [neighboring countries], and who knows? In the very near future we might be dealing with that in Belize, and if we are not prepared to deal with that threat, we certainly we will be fighting a...losing battle."

The Belize Defence Force is getting help from Canada and the British High Commissioner in putting together its Strategic Defence and Security Review. Tapia said that the intent is to have international partners assist the BDF.

With the planning exercise for the 2012-2013 national budget in process, Defence Minister Carlos Perdomo said that increasing manpower in the BDF is something that will be factored into the numbers. Usually, about 40 to 50 new soldiers are recruited yearly, said Tapia, but the budget will allow for 30 more to be added annually, with the aim of forming a new BDF company after about three years.

Minister Perdomo said that there have been discussions at the National Security Council level to boost the number of soldiers. The size of the Belize Coast Guard will also be increased.

In August 2011, Brigadier General Tapia had said that at the prior meeting of Belize's National Security Council, the decision was taken to undertake a Strategic Defence and Security Review, to set out the long-term needs of Belize.

Belize's last strategic review was done in 2000-12 years ago. The review is expected to conclude later this year.


Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,520
Idle hands, poor economy, few prospects for gainfull occupation, lack of self worth,....the chief allies of the drug cartels.

You want to "etre prete" work on those items as much, if not more than anything else in the Strategic Defence and Security Review

Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,733
You can cut thru the BS. It is the Belizeans who have gotten and are getting rich off the drug trade that are worried about losing it to the stronger cartels.

Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,461
There are certain dynamics in play amongst the people in the drug trade in Belize that have kept the biz more 'peaceful' here than in other countries along the transit route between the producing and consuming countries and none are a match for the more ruthless Dons. it is also hoped that the Canadians might station helicopters here to take up the slack left when the Brits pulled out. So that would be good news for Ambergris Caye.

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Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,733
The big money made in Belize in the drug trade is not in supplying a nation of 300,000, but in facilitating the transporting to the US where the demand is.

Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,520
Well made points Katie and Warren.

I applaud the General for publically advancing plans against a very real danger. However I am not so sure that this Stategic Defence & Security is the only item that needs advancing. Why should Belize be concerned? Why is Belize so ripe for the plucking? so ready to staff the machine to which Katie and Warren both allude?

It is a country with an abundance of mostly undereducated, unemployed and increasingly disenfranchised young people; most particularly in burgeoning urban areas*. It is a country saddled with enormous national debt and a struggling national economy. Tourism may be touted as the great saviour but Tourism is as much a monocrop economy as anything one can grow**.

There is little work and, from what I've seen, what there is holds little prospect for advancement. This is unlikely to change without significant politcal awakening, change and attention. The option for a Belizean to build something for themself seems to rely heavily on political connections. What is necessary is a dedicated working administrative system whose sole purpose is to facilitate the dreams of one who does not have such political currency.

In my own opinion, the political party system under which the people of Belize are governed is proving, after only a couple of decades of independence, to be incapable of moving this country forward, of improving peoples lives, and offering real opportunity (and I most shamefacedly admit the USA appears to be no better in this respect). It appears by all accounts that the most political activity at any time occurs during election years. The hunger to maintain an encumbents staus quo awakens them to a frenzy of activity intended to secure their positions for another term by handouts of cash for votes or promises of land. Such activity briefly captures only the people's fleeting attention, and not their enduring faith. With elections passing the agenda reverts to incipid croneyism.

Because of this lack of national fostering cartels are likely guaranteed a workforce of abundant willing recruits with simply the appeal of "belonging" and the lure what is relatively little money. Quite likely it is the former, not the latter, that is so critical here. To have a sense of self worth, a sense of pride is so appealing it overshadows the fact the activity is illegal, deadly and cause for ruination. Throw in the kind of money we're talking about and recruitment is practically unstoppable.

It's the same "business model" that makes gangs as insidious as they are. I've seen it here in the states, in my own little town. The fact that the poltical system of Belize already operates on favoritism, political mordida, and perhaps more substantive favors, means the cartels need expend little effort or money in shifting power where needed. There is no politician or "interested party" in Bleize that the cartels cannot move if they put their minds to it.

I hope to God that PUP,UDP and whoever else is out there realises that an opponing political party is nothing compared to a country run by drugs. Some may think greedily of opportunity but they will more likely as not find themsleves enslaved by it or dead. I despair when I think of the possibility that exists because the government has seemingly forsaken its charter. I love this country and its people; they deserve better. Why can the goverment realise that the same population of young eager willing people exists for their own recruitment?

*For some reason I am less concerned about the people living in rural areas where strong sense of community, family, faith and selfworth remain strong in day to day life.

**In fact I see the current economic situation as driving a cycle of natural resource abuses that is devouring the very things that drives tourism. To me one of the great dangers for Belize is the politicians seeing oil as Panacea whereas in all likelihood it is simply Pandora

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