On Friday the Belize Defence Force hosted the media to a press conference at the BDF headquarters in Belize City.
This was the first briefing of its kind since the murder of Special Constable Danny Conorquie.
At the press conference, BDF Commander Brigadier General David Jones told the media about the efforts being made to curb the illicit activity at the Western Border with Guatemala. Efforts include border patrols, and intensive quarterly gallops, which have seen a reduction in border activity, according to Brigadier General David Jones. But according to Mr Jones, the 33 million dollars that they get at the beginning of every fiscal year is not enough.
“It’s usually around a little over $33 million.
That is what we are given. We normally request more than that. I don’t have the figures, but it’s definitely much more than that.
I don’t have the exact figure. A ball-park would be a little over 40 million.
We would still need even more that that for the things that we really want to get, but security is expensive and it depends on what the Government can afford. They will say, ‘OK, this is where we need to prioritize,’
Even though we request a budget, this is what we get, and I have to prioritize, using the resources I get.”
Lack of human resources is another major setback for the Belize Defence Force. But according to Jones, the Government has pledged to give them the resources they need to increase their numbers by a hundred each year.
Brigadier General David Jones
“What I need to do, with the budget that we’re given now. I’m not able to do it. We’re working towards it, because what the Government has pledged is to give me the resources that I need.
I have requested for an amount of soldiers to complete these tasks, and they have pledged yes I’m going to get it, which is the reason why I have been able to double the size of soldiers that would come into the BDF. They have also pledged to increase the budget, for me to pay to have those soldiers and to equip them. Taking extra soldiers into the BDF is expensive. It’s millions of dollars just to have one of the intakes come in, and then it’s salaries to pay them every year.”
It is projected that by the year 2016, the BDF will have recruited in the excess of over 300 new soldiers. The BDF also hopes to have three more command posts added to protect the border with Guatemala; the Cebada CP, Valentin CP and the Caballo CP which is to be manned in the near future.