‘Colonial legacy’ of British army lives on in Belize - 02/06/20 11:16 AM
As the colonial rulers of Belize - the British governed Belize and freely exploited its resources for centuries - and that should have ended with independence.
But according to an article by the DAILY MAVERICK out of South Africa, even after the Independence, our land doesn't seem so independent.
The South African daily online newspaper this week took a closer look at the Status of Forces Agreement between Belize and the UK and the effects of it.
This Agreement enables thousands of British soldiers, as part of the British Army Training Support Unit Belize (BATSUB), coming to Belize for their military training. It includes in total 13 sites across the country where 3,750 troops a year train in a series of six annual operations.
They come here because Belize provides challenging terrain and an austere environment, giving the British army a world-class training environment.
That's a great value for the British military, the value for Belize however is far less.
According to an environmental audit carried out by the UK Ministry of Defence, the Agreement allows British military exercises on one-sixth of Belize's total landmass. The largest of the training sites is in the Rio Bravo Conservation Area, which is a protected forest. It is home to the "highest density" of rare jaguars in Belize and the endangered harpy eagle. The Agreement seems not to take into the account, that hosting the live-fire military exercises in one of the world's highest biodiversity could cause any damage.
Also, the article quotes confidential there is the risk damage of mayan monuments. Joel Wainwright, a professor of geography at Ohio State University and an expert on Belize is quoted as saying: "Britain has a poor historical track record of respecting Mayan culture".
And while the British have always been seen as good for the economy, the article quotes studies which show that British spending in the local economy is negligible. UK troops spend no more than £1.25-million pounds, which is equivalent to 0.1% of the country's gross domestic product.
‘Colonial legacy’ of British army lives on in Belize
THE British army is using one of the world’s most biodiverse countries as a military training ground and paying nothing for it, it was revealed yesterday. An audit by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), unearthed by Declassified UK, shows that soldiers are free to rehearse jungle warfare across a sixth of Belize, including in protected forests. The Central American country, roughly the size of Wales, is home to critically endangered species and ancient Mayan ruins. Shockingly, the British army does not pay a penny to the former colony for use of the land.
Britain uses vast swathes of one of the world’s most biodiverse countries for military training — and pays nothing
UK troops are conducting live-fire military exercises in one of the world’s most biodiverse countries which contains “critically endangered” species and rare archaeological sites. They are also authorised to conduct exercises in at least one protected forest area. Belize, which is roughly the size of Wales, receives no payment for hosting these operations that involve thousands of British soldiers each year. An environmental audit carried out by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) shows that nearly 380,000 of Belize’s 2.3 million hectares are now available to the British army for jungle warfare training.