Several other issues arose during the three-hour long meeting with members of the Belize Defence Force (BDF), including the matter of the tests that recruits need to sit in order to join the ranks. Concerns were raised that some recruits were unable to comprehend the tests, but according to Brigadier General, Steven Ortega, these tests are set at a primary school level.
Brig. Gen. Steven Ortega, BDF Commander: “The recruit test is set at a primary school level so perhaps maybe we need to look at that but it’s presently it’s set at a primary school level so if you graduate from primary school if you have a primary school leaving certificate you’re qualified in that aspect to join the force and they have all sat the recruiting exam. Yes they didn’t max it or performed a B or a B+ or a C but we have to take a cross section of society we just can’t take everyone who is an A or B student otherwise what will happen to the guys who get B and Ds? It’s not only the smartest that gets in and so that’s how I’m saying we have to do a further assessment of our instructors for them to be able to impart that information to other recruits who aren’t academically as gifted but that’s why we need to get the different types of instructors to do that so those are some of the changes that we will implement.”
Retired Colonel George Lovell, CEO, Ministry of National Security: “One of the things that they have in the BDF, and you’ll find for every rank that people progress in the BDF there is a course of studies. This is one of the organization that for you to go from a recruit to a soldier you go through recruit training; for you to go to a private solider to a Lance Corporal there is a potential Jr. Non Commissioned Officers course that you do, for you to go from a Lance Corporal to a Corporal there’s a Section Commander course to do so every rank all the way up to when you’re a general he does War College before he qualified as the Commanding General. So there is continuous training and career development once you’re in the force and that’s how we try to get those people who came in at a academically challenged or disadvantaged to where they grow up.”
We will have more from this meeting in Monday’s newscast.