“The Department of Environment has an agreement with the British Army Training Support Unit Belize (BATSUB) which, like any other company, has an environmental impact assessment,” Enriquez said, “and Belizeans are a little happy to see British forces in Belize in numbers because you know we have this long-standing claim (Guatemalan claim),” he added. The revised agreements provide a strong platform to increase the activities of the British armed forces in Belize, which are expected to take place in the near future, and to further strengthen the partnership between the two countries. Enriquez was asked whether the Government of Belize had welcomed the British army because it might, in some respects, be some sort of deterrent in light of the Guatemalan claim. According to an environmental assessment by the UK Ministry of Defence, the agreement authorises British military exercises on one-sixth of Belize`s total land mass. The largest of the training centers is in the Rio Bravo Conservation Area, a protected forest. It is home to the “highest density” of rare jaguars in Belize and the endangered Harpyen eagle. The chairman of the board of directors of the Ministry of National Security, Felix Enriquez, revealed much of the claims of the DAILY MAVERICKS in an interview with the Belician newspaper Amandala. He said Belize gets many training opportunities from the British at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, “and these courses are extremely expensive.” According to a press release from the Belize Government Press Office, the revised agreement establishes the new legal framework within which personnel of the United Kingdom Armed Forces will operate in Belize. They come here because Belize offers challenging terrain and a rigorous environment that provides the British Army with a top-notch training environment. Enriquez says he read the article on Daily Maverick, “and he has a lot of inaccuracies.” “The defence of Belize belongs to Belize, but Britain is a strong supporter of Belize. While there is no guarantee that they will go to war for us, where the Guatemalan claim lies, the United Kingdom is on Belize`s side.
For diplomatic reasons, they cannot go out and say they are with Belize. When we became independent, our defense became our area of expertise,” Enriquez said. Signed on behalf of the Government of Belize John Saldivar, Minister of National Security, and, on behalf of the Government of the United Kingdom, Mark Lancaster, Minister of Defence. The online newspaper criticized the agreement, which allows British soldiers, as part of the British Army Training Support Unit Belize (BATSUB), to come to Belize for their military training. It has a total of 13 sites across the country, where 3,750 soldiers train each year in a series of six annual operations. . Enriquez said Belize and Britain have signed a “status-of-forces agreement,” which deals with “the movement of troops and how we treat them, exactly what they will do when they are here and the things we are interested in.” By BBN staff: The Government of Belize and the Government of the United Kingdom today signed in Belize the revised Status of The Armed Forces Agreement (SOFA) and their Memorandum of Understanding on the Status of the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom. . . .