The Government of Belize and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) signed a loan agreement for thirty million U.S. dollars in 2015 for the Belize Integral Security Program. The Ministry of Defence and Border Security will use funds from that facility to improve the Belize Defence Force (BDF). The Head of the BDF and CEO of the Ministry spoke on how much it will help soldiers.
“For the Cabei project we have basically two areas that will be focused for the BDF. Infrastructure and purchase of some equipment be it office equipment and some vehicles. The infrastructure projects will include the kitchen and living areas for the soldiers.”
“When we took office in November when I had a sit down with my minister we spoke about what we want to do to make a difference and one of the major things that my minister told me was that he wants to work on the welfare of soldiers so that when they are out there in the fields and doing their work that they can be contented that they have a decent place to sleep, they have a decent meal and so this loan will help us achieve that aim at addressing the welfare of the soldiers. So we hope that at the end of our five year term that we have made a difference in the lives of the Belizean soldier.”
Operating with a limited budget, the BDF manages hundreds of soldiers and two hundred buildings at Price Barracks. CEO for the Ministry of Economic Development and Investment Doctor Osmond Martinez added that Belize will benefit from this significantly.
“The Belize Security Integral Program is a loan that was signed back in 2015. In 2018 CABEI gave its first dispersal of $3.7 million US dollars of which only monies for salaries have been used up to now and that money is sitting down at the Central Bank of Belize. There is a total agreement between the Government of Belize and CABEI since 2015 of $30 million US dollars. So that is a loan that CABEI have facilitated to Belize. Today this morning we had the opportunity to take a walkthrough Price Barracks and we have seen that the living conditions of the BDF officers is inhumane, is unacceptable and it is more than needed for this project to take off. In addition to that it falls within the citizen security framework for Central America hence the reason CABEI is supporting this project.”
As Brigadier General Ortega noted, the loan will be used for the purchasing of equipment, including motor vehicles, and infrastructure improvements, including the kitchen and living areas that are in dire need of renovation.