By Ingrid Fernandez, Staff Reporter
The Belize Defence Force (BDF) conducted a passing out ceremony at its Price Barracks headquarters in Ladyville on Friday evening for 80 recruits who have now joined the ranks of Belize’s military.
The recruits started their rigorous training in October 2015, in disciplines ranging from: marksmanship, combat, scouting and survival skills to prepare them for the demanding life of a soldier.
With the addition of these new privates, the BDF now has more than 1500 members, Commander David Jones said at the ceremony.
The new soldiers will be deployed to target areas; most of them will join troops established at Price Barracks, and others the southern border, which is top priority. The ones doing duty in the south will be based at Fairweather Camp in Punta Gorda town.
A total of 130 young men and women started training in this intake, but 30 of them dropped out within the first few weeks. Of the 80 graduates,four are women – one short of Commander Jones’ hopes.
He stated that the low number is normal for a platform such as the BDF, since the training is and challenging.
The new soldiers displayed their newly acquired skills in armed and fire combats.
Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, stated that these show that the BDF is ready to defend the country from existing threats that may come our way.
When asked if the BDF would be prepared and fully equipped to defend the country in a war situation, the Minister responded that in that case we would need support of our foreign allies.
Meanwhile, along with the new employment of the 80 new soldiers, the Ministry of National Security is also making investments of new equipment and protective gear into the Force, said Commander Jones.