The Belize Defense Force held its First Battalion Award Ceremony and Christmas dinner. The soldiers were encouraged to be on their best behavior when they return home for the holidays. Toledo correspondent Paul Mahung reports.
Paul Mahung, Love FM: “The BDFs first battalion award ceremony and Christmas lunch was held yesterday in the Toledo District. The event at the BDF Fairweather Camp included opening remarks by Lieutenant Andre Ayuso and prayer by second Lieutenant Pastor John Gotz who distributed bibles to each of the soldiers present. Guest speaker of the event was Acting Commanding Officer of the BDF Service Support Battalion Major Roberto Beltran.”
Major Roberto Beltran, Belize Defense Force: “We will recruit every year if possible double intakes per year if not we will at least do one intake but extend the numbers that we recruit. So the message here is that the tasks are increasing, they are getting more important but don’t forget that that strength of the BDF will increase. Within five years time the promise has made to the Belize Defense Force that there will be a third infantry battalion. When there is an incident with one soldier that does something wrong the negative implications that it has on the media just grow and multiplies. So please gentlemen I am asking you for the this end of the year if you are going out there to behave badly please reconsider it- you might just be the unfortunate one to be discharged because of your actions brought disrepute to the force. I am passing on the message that the general asked me to pass on.”
Paul Mahung, Love FM: “The battalion address was done by BDF one battalion Acting Commanding Officer Major Omar Salam.”
Major Omar Salam, BDF One Acting Commanding Officer: “I think the general’s message is being spread across and is straightforward and I too have said the same thing but we are covered and I’ll keep it short. I just want to express my deep appreciation for the sacrifice you’ve already made and I ask that you continue to perform to your best.”
Paul Mahung, Love FM: “Major Salam also presented certificates of recognition to BDF First Infantry Battalion’s oldest soldier Corporal Lloyd Steadman, youngest soldier Private Cedric Cal, best male soldier Private Valerio Che, best female soldier Private Christal Cristina Carcamo and best civilian camp worker Petra Jacobs. All five awardees were recognized for outstanding and dedicated service, positive attitude and work ethics. Other awards were presented to BDF One Battalion team of soldiers who were among winners in this year’s recent Belize Coast Guard Best Warrior Competition. The program also included a presentation on the ICJ by captain Emil Co of the BDF headquarters and Lieutenant Alma Pinelo of the Belize Coast Guard. Thereafter the soldiers were served delicious Christmas lunch and refreshments by officers and senior non commissioned officers of BDF first infantry battalion and all shared in a festive Christmas atmosphere with music by Chocolate Band of Big Falls Village.”