March 20, 2017 saw lead members for the Beyond the Horizon project giving the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Defence, Felix Enriquez, a tour of their space on Price Barracks where the various teams would be staying for the most part for the duration of the project. Fast forward almost three months later and there have been seventeen thousand tons of concrete poured; over sixteen thousand cement blocks have been laid and five structures completed. The last few days saw the official handing over of those facilities to the proper officials with today being the closing ceremony for the Beyond the Horizon project. Brigadier General Richard Torres is the Deputy Commanding General of the US Army South. Torres focused a lot on unity and human connections during his podium presentation this morning.
“This mission is about people helping people, our desire to work together to make things better. By connecting with each other as individuals at the human level; I hope the Belizean people remember the doctor or the engineer in uniform who took the time to show them such compassion and care. This is a tremendous achievement and proof that partnerships do work. By working together, building friendships and learning from one another we made this mission successful for the people of Belize. On behalf of the US Army, I can tell you that our citizen soldiers gained valuable experience from Belizean civilians and military experts. We will take these lessons back to the United States, share what we have learned with our army and make ourselves stronger. The training opportunities associated with Beyond The Horizon, not only creates a lasting legacy of our partnership but also help establish personal relationships that our armies will remember for years to come. These are the relationships that enable us to meet any challenges in the region. We are nations with common interests, proud of the progress and partnerships we have made together and ready to assume greater interaction in the future. When we come together and focus on a common goal such as Beyond The Horizons, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish. General Rosende, thank you for sending such a great team here in the form of Task Force Jaguar under the leadership of Colonel Simma. I want to say to the entire task force job well done. The time you spent away from your families and civilian jobs was for a great cause. You’ve shown how army values of loyalty, duty, respect, self of service, honor, integrity and personal courage are put to use in every situation. I want you to know that your sacrifices have made a lasting impression on the people of Belize. You are the best our nation has to offer and I could not have asked you to execute this mission with more skill and precision.”
Speaking on the way forward, Brigadier General David Jones of the Belize Defence Force says that among several other benefits gained from projects like these, training for the soldiers was crucial.
“The assistance of US forces also other forces to work with us because apart from the trained experience we receive from the Belize Defence Force it is contribution that goes to Belize. In particular for infrastructure, education and health so the traditional roles that the Belize Defence Force conducts in regards to security patrols along the border, operations that we do counter narcotics, counter drugs, there is another dimension of the military that is shown here which is humanitarian assistance and whenever we get the opportunity to do this it’s good training that the BDF and its good economic benefit for Belize because these buildings come free of cost from the US government and it’s our Belizean people, our government and our communities that get the benefit from it so we will continue to ask for these projects. Perhaps in the next two or three years we will have another one and we’ll welcome them and we will decide where are the different locations these projects will continue.”
Also speaking at this morning’s ceremony were US Embassy’s Charge d Affaires, Adrienne Galanek; Minister of Defence, John Saldivar and Minister of Education, Patrick Faber.