Belize Defence Force Implements Physical Fitness Requirement for Yearly Increments
Soldiers of the Belize Defence Force will now have to ensure that they are physically fit, if they want to qualify for an increment each year. It is a change that has come about at the start of this fiscal year on April 1. Concerns were raised by some soldiers, saying that they were yet to see their increment reflected in their salaries. The BDF Commandant, Brigadier General Azariel Loria gave clarity on the situation, saying that the Ministry of National Defense and Border Security has altered the process in which yearly increments are adjusted and issued.
Brigadier General Azariel Loria ,Commander of the BDF: “We got the go ahead from the Ministry of Finance that increments have been reinstated effective the April of this year but the increments in the past, we used to give increments to the soldiers by them just running an APFT, an annual personal fitness test that we call it was regulated that they run it twice a year and that they pass it. Some used to do one, some used to do none in the past and they still used to get an increment. But if you heard the Prime Minister’s speech that if we continue to do that, it just becomes a salary raise and that is not the case for increments. Increments, the soldier has to earn it and hence the reason we are just ensuring that we have the appropriate measures in place that we stick to the regulations, that the soldier runs his annual physical test twice a year, that he passes, that the soldier passes, that he is of good conduct because we are not going to give increment to somebody that goes absent, he runs his annual physical test but then he goes absent during the year, that is not good conduct. Such measures are being placed so that the individual earns it. We want a good performance plus a good mental and physical fitness. That’s all that we’re requesting when it comes to increments.”
The change within the BDF is not the only one. Earlier this year, Minister of Public Service, Henry Charles Usher, had announced that as part of the public service reform, increments would not be automatic. He noted that it would be done based on performance assessment.