Since the BATSUB operation of the British Forces in Belize downsized, the Belize Defence Force has had difficulty to mobilize troops to the border.
They’ve received numerous donations of vehicles to assist with the vital helicopter support they lost, but BDF still has issues mobilizing.
Well the British Forces have come through once again, and they’ve donated 17 vehicles to assist. They held small ceremony to note its importance, and 7News attended. Here’s what the BDF Commander told us about this major assistance.
Brig General David Jones - Commander, BDF
"This donation came about from an initial meeting I had with the British government, there was a member for the Ministry of Defense who came to visit Belize and after I took over in February, I had a meeting with him shortly after and I told him that one of the critical lack of capacity that the BDF has is lack of troop lifting vehicles. I noted that BATSUB had a number of these four ton trucks here; they have scaled down, and they're not being used and we are in desperate need of these and apart from this - I've added for other critical things but this was one of the main things I needed.
He agreed with the suggestions I made that the BDF should be able to get some of these trucks and he had promised that I would get some. I didn't know I would ge so many because initially they had said I would get six of them. I got the news actually last week that I am going to get a total of seventeen, so I am very grateful to them. It came at an opportune time because our deployment of soldiers was much more in numbers recently, along the border, and we didn't have the vehicle capacity to do that. Now with these vehicles we can deploy up to an entire battalion strength because in the past we haven't been able to deploy up to a company with the trucks that we have and now we can deploy more than a company, up to an entire battalion, probably up to three hundred guys we can deploy easily now with this new addition that we have.
Mobility is needed and we can move anywhere in the country now and one of the main areas that we are operating that require these trucks is in the area of the Chiquibul. Then down South in Punta Gorda where our soldiers move to the observation post in the Machaquila area, Santa Rosa and the Tree Tops area - these are the trucks that we need because sometimes when we deploy on Tuesdays - it's about thirty guys we need to deploy and these trucks can hold twenty so with two of these trucks we can deploy the guys, unlike with the small vehicles we got, the Mahindras, those can only hold eight guys. So we'd have to be making three trips or having three of those vehicles go and in cases now we can have one or just two of these vehicles."