Family of Deceased BDF Soldier Demands Justice and Unpaid Benefits
The family of a Belize Defence Force soldier who died in the line of duty is up in arms over what they say is disrespect by the government. In 2022, 37-year-old, Lance Corporal Roxanne Goff-Hill, lost her life in a vehicular collision on the George Price Highway in Cotton Tree Village. The soldier, one of several involved in the incident, was returning from the funeral of BDF soldier, Micha Miguel, in Hopkins Village. As per force regulations, Goff’s family was to be provided with a “death in harness” monetary payment. Almost two years later, however, her father, 69-year-old Evan Goff, says the family is yet to receive the disbursement. Goff, who has been left to care for Hill’s two children, stopped by our studios to express his frustration with the force.
Evan Goff, Father of Roxanna Goff: “To be honest and true with you it’s a back and forth you know. Nobody knows anything so I decided to visit the media and let the media know how I feel because then it’s been almost two years since the 11th of August 2022 and to this day nobody come out and say anything and I have the two kids, the boy and the girl, and I need closure to this because I don’t know when I might pass, remember they are coming up and I’m going down. They’re saying it’s in the defense hand, in the Ministry’s hands and Belmopan is saying that some of the paperwork wasn’t correct I mean how will the paperwork not be correct ? Hm? If they do the job the right way the paperwork should be correct. You know from the time that lady had that accident they should have prepared stuff for the days when they’re ready to pay off and it hasn’t happened yet. The last time I spoke to him he said he’ll get back to me and up to this day my daughter spoke to someone from defense and they said that they’re working on it. She spoke with them yesterday and they said that they’re working on it so I don’t know.”
Goff went on to speak about the hardship he’s faced after his daughter’s death and shared a message for the Minister of National Defence and Border Security.
Evan Goff, Father of Roxanna Goff: “It’s so unfortunate that she died in active duty and never one day no member of the Defense Force reached out and said okay here’s a five dollars to keep the kids them, nobody reached out to the family and it’s not like they don’t know the number to call. They know exactly what to do to get the family. All this time I have been taking care of the kids.”
Reporter: Do you feel your family has been disrespected by the force ?
Evan Goff, Father of Roxanna Goff: “Of course. Definitely because nobody reached out to us. We are the ones that had to try to reach out to them. Like I told you she died in active duty with three kids. The baby is with her father and then the other two kids are with me. The 16 and 10 year old are with me.”
Reporter: Did the force ever assist in covering her funeral expenses anything like that ?
Evan Goff, Father of Roxanna Goff: “Yes they did but that was it. That was it. I just want to put out the rest that it seems like everything went haywire from them. My message to the minister, him personally he needs to light fire under the public officers’ tails because they are the ones dragging their feet. You see like I said you have a lot of public officers, you have good ones and bad ones but some of them they’re getting paid to do a job and you have to go and pay them to do their job if you want service done which is not good. It’s not good. So I think that message to the minister and the person in charge at all the government departments they need to see that the public officers do their work the proper way , that’s what they’re getting paid for.”
Police had charged Belize Defence Force soldier, 40-year-old Arthur Danderson, for Goff’s death. Danderson was charged with manslaughter by negligence, causing death by careless conduct, negligent grievous harm and driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention.