Belize Defence Force Prepares to Aid Haiti in Fight Against Criminal Gangs
The Belize Defence Force (BDF) plans to send its best and brightest soldiers to Haiti. Tonight, however, we can tell you that the trip to Haiti is still in limbo as the government is waiting for certain commitments to be made by its international partners. Just last month, the government announced that it was joining a multi-national task force, led by Kenya, to aid in the country’s fight against criminal gangs. Haiti has been in a state of duress since its President was executed and is unable to contain the group of deadly gangs that have seized power in parts of the country. Belize has committed to sending fifty soldiers from the Belize Coast Guard and the BDF to join the fight. However, according to the BDF’s Deputy Commander, Colonel Anthony Velasquez, the force has not yet identified the number of persons it will contribute.
Colonel Anthony Valasquez, Deputy Commander: “We have identified soldiers, the unit at least that would be heading to Haiti should Belize fully commit to this mission. Belize has already stated that we are prepared to offer the service. So we’ve already identified the unit. Training will begin shortly. Well we have identified some of our special operations soldiers to be the vanguard of our contribution to this mission. So they are our best trained and most elite soldiers that we have so we will send them to lay the ground work for future deployments should it occur.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Are these soldiers being receptive ?
Colonel Anthony Valasquez, Deputy Commander: “Yes. In fact many other soldiers have been requesting to be part of the contingent that may or will be deployed to Haiti. So many soldiers are very receptive.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: So no idea how much at this point ?
Colonel Anthony Valasquez, Deputy Commander: “Not at this point. At this point really no direction has come from on top except that we know that the Kenyans have agreed to the lead. The CARICOM contingent are organizing themselves as well so Jamaica has pledged to contribute, other countries, so we’re in the organizational phase. But I can say that no deployment will happen probably until sometime between January to mid year next year.”
If the plans of the task force do come to fruition, they will be lending aid to to the Haitian National Police Force. On Wednesday, Commissioner of the Belize Police Department, Chester Williams, spoke about a discussion had with the Chief of Haiti’s Police about the possibility of sending Belize’s top cops to Haiti.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “I met with him yesterday and we had a welcome cocktail last night and at that event I took the liberty of speaking to him but may I also say that the representative from Haiti is also a member of the ACCP which I’m a member of. And so I had met him in May of this year in Trinidad and so we’re no strangers to each other but yes we did discuss the issue in Haiti and what we want to see as a part of this meeting or this conference is to see how as a region we can assist Haiti through our commission. So that’s is going to be a part of our discussion as well.”