By Benjamin Flowers
The Ministry of National Security has been re-assessing its security features at the Belize Defense Force Headquarters at Price Barracks after a security breach caused thousands of rounds of ammunition to be stolen from the base.
More than a dozen officers have been cited for disciplinary action.
According to Chief Executive Officer, Ret. Colonel George Lovell, the Commander of the BDF has been instructed to order a Court of Inquiry, which will be a full analysis of both the physical space and security procedures at the base.
“The court of inquiry will identify the gaps in the security protocols and identify the need for any additional equipment,” Lovell explained.
“While no system is 100 percent foolproof, the ministry is also commissioning compliance audits at the base to make sure procedures are being followed.”
Lovell added that since the breach was detected, the Ministry has spared no effort to ascertain how it happened and who are responsible.
“What we have done is ensure that everyone who was working, from the date the ammo was stored, up to the date the breach was discovered, has been brought in for questioning. We have several persons of interest being sought ,” he explained.
Lovell identified one of the key factors in the ammunition being stolen as an error of communication between the rankings of the BDF. He said that when the ammo was stored on the base, ranking officers were unaware of its presence, so the ammo was not checked on regularly, as is done with BDF’s ammunitions.
On the morning of January 26, BDF security patrols discovered a breach in one of the ammunition holding bays. They discovered that a total of 1,680 rounds of 5.56 and 1,000 rounds of 6.62 rounds of ammunition had been removed from that holding bay.
BDF top brass believe that it was some person or persons from within their ranks who stole the ammunition. The management has cited more than a dozen officers who will be disciplined for either acts: commission or omission, resulting in this security breach, leading up to the breach.