After serving seventeen years and seven months in the Belize Defence Force, Major Eric Neal passed away last night after experiencing difficulty breathing. Major Neal was hospitalized for several days in San Ignacio Town and later he was transferred to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where he died due to pre-existing conditions. Major Neal was a highly educated officer with a master of Defence Studies and a work college diploma in ‘international combating terrorism’. He is also known for being the soldier beside the former Governor-General Sir Colville Young as his Aide de Camp. Chief of Staff Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Velasquez says Major Neal will be greatly missed.
Lt.Col Anthony Velasquez, Chief of Staff, BDF: “Complete and profound shock and I’m still processing the information that indeed Major Neal has passed away. It came as a blow, a physical blow to me. I knew Major Neal well and worked with him many many years and I’m still processing it. He suffered from preexisting conditions and he was indeed very ill over the past few months. He was hospitalized in San Ignacio a couple days ago and thereafter taken the Karl Heusner where he died. Talking about Major Neal he served seventeen years seven months in the Belize Defence Force. He’s actually one of the most highly educated officers that we have. He has a Masters Degree in Strategic Security Studies and he has a War College diploma in International Combating Terrorism. He’s also a Justice of the Peace and as many people would recognize Major Neal’s serving Si Colville the past Governor General and from what you can see that he was a well disciplined, a very serious officer and a man who took his job seriously and his service was one to the soldiers. He is an outspoken officer and he always advocated for the rights of soldiers, in fact his service had profound impact on the welfare and morale of soldiers and Major Neal will be sorely missed.”
Major Eric Neal, Belize Defence Force: “I will be willing to sacrifice my life.”
Major Neal leaves behind his wife and his daughter. Velsquez says major Neal will be to rest with full military honours.
Lt.Col Anthony Velasquez, Chief of Staff, BDF: “Everyone is really shocked right now I spoke too many soldiers here on camp at Price Barracks and everyone is deeply shocked. Everyone is saying one of the really good guys has gone and everyone is a very sad. The atmosphere here at Price Barracks is one of shock and grief at this present time.”
Reporter: do you have like a fond memory of him?
Lt.Col Anthony Velasquez, Chief of Staff, BDF: “Well my best friend we have Major Neal is service he and I worked at the Ministry of Defence a few years ago and he advocated for the soldiers to receive certain benefits and it actually happened, we both worked on that together and we he actually impacted he lives of many soldiers in the Belize Defence Force so service as an officer and working on policy that actually positively affected the lives of officers and soldiers especially. He was a friend to many I just can’t answer all the calls and texts I’ve been receiving about his passing he will surely be missed. Every soldier here in the Belize Defence Force knows Major Neal and it just goes to show the level of man that he is and the level of impact. Every single soldier and officer here has had some sort of interaction with him if not they all know and we’ve all heard his voice and they all felt is impact during his 17 years of service here. When I saw his post I was saying well ok well Major Neal is posting this so maybe he’s not as bad as it looks so I was hoping that the best would happen it would turn out well. Unfortunately he had a rapid decline over the past 48 hours and we received the sad news early this morning.”
We understand that Major Neal was swabbed twice with a rapid test within a forty-eight hours period before he died. The result was negative, however, he was subsequently swabbed and subjected to a PCR test. The result will be in tomorrow or Monday.