Brigadier General David Jones talks about his new position

The BDF changed leadership at the start of February, with Brigadier General Dario Tapia retiring to make way for Brigadier General David Jones. General Jones is well-known to viewers for his expertise in dismantling bombs and grenades and was called on during the grenade spree of 2008-2011 when several grenades lost from BATSUB were used to attack civilians in Belize City. PlusNews caught up with General Jones and he told us about his activities since taking up the nation’s top military post.

Brigadier General David Jones:
vlcsnap-2013-03-01-18h54m47s133Today has marked exactly a month. What I have been doing so far is making checks on exactly what resources the BDF has, making checks on exactly what resources we need and looking at the structure of what the BDF currently has and then starting to revise what structure we need, because with the current threats that we have, we don’t believe that we are structured the best way. So we are going to revise our structure and then looking at probably either increasing the size of the force or doing a restructuring so we can meet threats that we are now facing.

Those issues include both manning the border and fighting crime in Belize City. The latter, the General revealed, is not a very popular job among his men, but someone, he said, has to do it.

Brigadier General David Jones:
At times they complain, they say “Sir this is not our duty.” However it is just a matter of communication and explaining why we are doing certain tasks because whenever a soldier is deployed, he needs to know what his mission is and what his purpose is. So he knows exactly why he is doing something. After we sit down with our soldiers and explain to them, then they understand. This is not what we have signed up to do, but this is something of national interest and this is something that we can help and if we can provide that assistance we will do it because it is for the benefit of the public.

Internally, the force has strengthened its dealing with losses of ammunition and weaponry.

Brigadier General David Jones:
The BDF is not isolated from the rest of the country. In regards to grenades going missing from the camp, of course if you can recall, the grenades did not go missing from the BDF. Ammunitions sometimes are stolen and sometimes they do get out. When soldiers go out on operations, they do get tempted. Sometimes they take these ammunitions and take them either for illicit purposes or to go and sell them to make money. When soldiers are caught doing this, similar like a civilian in the public, it is an offense. Stealing military equipment or resources is an offense and if they get caught, they get prosecuted within our system, similar like the civil authorities would do in the public.

The Belize Defense Force recently celebrated 35 years of existence.

About the Author