At Wednesday’s opening of the Forward Operating Base in the Sarstoon area, the commander of the Belize Defense Force, Brigadier General David Jones confirmed that the recently acquired Taiwanese helicopters for the force have been assembled. In one year’s time, when training for the pilots is complete, the helicopters will be put into use along Belize’s border. In the South, the Government is expected to clear out a landing area for the copters:
Brig. Gen. Llyod Jones, Commander of the Belize Defense Force: The helicopters are already assembled. Our pilots have to be fully trained before they are personally operating them so despite the fact that they’ve been assembled, they’re flying, we will only have them during training flying around these areas, but the future is for this facility to also be serviced by those helicopters. The area just over to my left is a clearing that is expected to be developed into a helicopter landing sight, so that will be an area where the helicopter will be able to land if there is need for immediate evacuation in this area, and it’s going to be the same with the rest of the observation post along the western border. All the helicopter landing sites are going to be cleared so we can have casual evacuation or insertion or extraction along the border. In particular along the Western Border, they’re more fuel consumptive and we’d have to place fuel in different districts so that when they leave price barracks, they can go and return without any difficulty. All that has been factored in. The two places we may need to have refuel stations may be here in Punta Gorda, and also at Camp Bilizar in Cayo so when they launch operation from the Battilion that is in Cayo we have a station at the base in Cayo and operations here in the south, we have fuel here at Fayweather camp as well but all that is being planned. We’re hoping that training starts, either next week or within two weeks or so.