The annual event where senior officials take a few hours out to serve food and drinks to the soldiers of the Belize Defence Force took place this morning at Price Barracks in Ladyville, Belize District. Over nine hundred men and women enjoyed the Christmas luncheon which has become a special event on their military calendar particularly for those who will be stationed out district for the Christmas holidays. Brigadier General, David Jones spoke of today’s event.
“Total we have here close to nine hundred soldiers but total we cater to one thousand one hundred people today because we had guests from the Police, the Coast Guard, Immigration, Customs also Foreign Affairs and Forensics so we have invited a lot of guests who have worked with us throughout the year. The main objective is to say thanks to the soldiers for the hard work and dedication they’ve been providing for the nation throughout the years and throughout this year and it is an opportunity for the officers and soldiers who have been passing orders to them throughout the entire year to actually serve them food and drinks today.”
Not all members of the force were able to attend but efforts of inclusion were made earlier this week as explained by Commander Jones.
“We’ve had separate but similar ceremonies at the different out stations. I’ve just returned from Camp Belizario in Cayo yesterday where I did the same ceremony and on Monday I was in Punta Gorda doing the same ceremony for that unit. There was also a ceremony last week in the Orange Walk District so each of the BDF installation had their own ceremony such as this. For the ones who are working along the border who will not be able to come here within reason and logic we will take over the Christmas meal for them in the day. So the soldiers who are working at the Sarstoon, the ones who are working at Tree Tops, Santa Rosa, the areas we can reach; we will take the Christmas meal and New Years Meal for them out there as well.”
“How is it received from the soldiers, this tradition?”
“Well this is something that they look forward to every year. It’s a time, apart from being served by their officers , it’s excellent meal, excellent food, it puts them in the festive season of celebrating and after the actual meal when I leave, they will have more fun. If I am not around, they get to let loose. We provide them with alcoholic beverages today, music and drumming from various artists who will be coming in. Immediately as the Minister is ready to leave, I will leave and the soldiers will have more fun.”
Addressing the soldiers this morning was the Defence Minister, John Saldivar who commended the men and women on a job well done.