Milestone Achievement: BDF Helicopter Lands at Renovated Forward Operating Base in the South
Tonight, there is progress to report at the Forward Operating Base in the south. It has been a few months since construction works began to renovate the base for Belize’s military. The base was built back in 2017, but today saw the very first time that a BDF chopper was able to make a landing at the base. Deputy Commander of the Belize Defence Force, Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Velasquez, told Love News that what several government officials saw today at the Sarstoon Base, was a test landing.
Lt.Col.Anthony Velasquez, BDF Deputy Commander: “We sent the BDF helicopter there to do a test landing just incase the helicopter has to deploy troops or extract troops from that area. So we know that it can work and we know that we can do it. The conditions of the area, the soft ground and the winds and everything and the nearness to the Guatemalan border was the motivational factor for us to do a test run to ensure that everything can happen smoothly when we really need to do it. So that was the entire purpose.”
As is, there are currently some ten soldiers who remain on site to maintain the military presence in the area. Deputy Velasquez went on to explain that the renovations are being done in three phases.
Lt.Col.Anthony Velasquez, BDF Deputy Commander: “Three phase if you wish approach to this. So the first phase was the refurbishment of the old building that was there, a full and complete refurbishment and renovation to include filling against erosion and a complete cutting and renovating of the entire building so that has been, that’s almost completed. It will be completed in about three weeks. After that there will be an opening and I’m sure the media will be invited. The second and third phase is more long term and includes building a permanent structure which is a well constructed permanent structure there as well as a pier to accommodate our regulation operations there the Helipad was part of that strategy of that approach and it was constructed. In terms of cost I will have to refer you to the Ministry of National Defence and Border Security as the costings were handled through the ministry. There is constant visits there by the CEO of the Ministry of National Defence and Border Security and other key agencies or other partners are also invited, CEOs from agencies are invited as well. It is a multisector or multi pronged approach to getting this building constructed and it will be used to project our maintenance of our territorial integrity within the area.”
The first two phases of construction works are expected to be finalized within the next month.