A preliminary report on the investigation into the deaths of the four BDF soldiers is due today. It is yet to be confirmed if the report was presented to the high ranking officials in the Ministry of National Security. Love News did speak to the Minister of National Security, Michael Peyrefitte, this morning who spoke of the report.
Michael Peyrefitte, Minister of National Security: “On Monday we indicated to the nation that we would be doing two things, one we would be declaring an official period of mourning and that’s exactly what we’re doing at this point. We want the families to know that we are here for them and that we feel their pain even though we can never experience what they are experiencing at this point. We look at the family of Corporal Choco a hero to his family as said by his sister, the joy of his family, they were so proud of him, they were such a close knit family and to see them grieve the way they are grieving it is heart wrenching, it is gut wrenching and I just wanted to be here for the family to let them know that their government, their people are here for them. Another thing that we did, the families were assured by a press release that we will be doing a full and thorough investigation. A preliminary report is due today at 1pm and as soon as we can clarify all of the details of the preliminary report we should be doing a press briefing no later than Tuesday. At that point we will tell the nation exactly where we are up to a certain stage of the investigation. We could have easily done it tomorrow or Friday but we really wanted the nation to finish it’s period of mourning and out of respect for the soldiers we’re not going to have a media briefing until the last soldier is laid to rest. So on Tuesday we will have a press briefing where we will let the nation know where we are up to this point.”
One of the main complaints being made by family members of the fallen soldiers has to do with the delay in information from the BDF officials to the next of kin. According to Minister Peyrefitte, he empathizes with the families but they had allowed the military protocol to take precedence.
Michael Peyrefitte, Minister of National Security: “As I said before you can never be informed quickly enough of a relative who has died or passed away. I understand the anger of the family. Personally myself as the Minister, the Minister of State we wanted to give the BDF the opportunity to do their thing the military way so we allowed them to reach out to the families. They had assured me that they had reached out to the people who were the points of contact for the deceased. On Monday I called each of the families I could not get through to the Mendez Family who laid their son to rest yesterday I could not get through to them but Minister Aragon got through to them but I spoke to Mrs.Choco on Monday and I expressed to her our deepest condolences and that the Government of Belize is behind them 100% and we will do everything in our power to make sure that they get their full benefits, the full privileges and rights that they deserve as fallen soldiers and we will do our utmost best to ensure that they are treated with respect and dignity even in blessed memory.”
Corporal Yassir Mendez was laid to rest yesterday in Douglas Village, Orange Walk District. Corporal Reynaldo Choco was laid to rest this morning in Big Falls Village, Toledo District. Major Adran Ramirez will be laid to rest tomorrow in Corozal Town and Major Radford Baizar’s service will be on Friday in Belize City.