Thursday, December 16, 2010

ARTICLE OF INTEREST: SUN SETS ON BRITISH ARMY IN BELIZE

Video from LOVE TV Belize

In a surprise move the British Ministry of Defence has announced it is closing down its base in Belize as part of cost saving measures. The move is particularly alarming for Belize which has always looked to Britain as a bulwark in its defence against a possible invasion from neighboring Guatemala that has a long-standing territorial claim against Belize. Belize is a former British colony and gained its independence in 1981. It is a member of the British Commonwealth and has a small and underfunded army of about 1,000.

The move follows a very public fight the current government of the United Democratic Party picked with Lord Michael Ashcroft, the former Tory party deputy chairman, who has vast business interests in Belize. Lord Ashcroft holds dual Belize-British citizenship. Some 3,000 British troops go trough very tough jungle training at the British Army Training Support Unit Belize – BATSUB – every year. Writing in The Telegraph Newspaper today Defence Correspondent Thomas Harding says that “The final withdrawal of British forces, which have been in Belize since it gained independence in 1981 when it was known as British Honduras, has been signalled by the reduction of the training base from 70 soldiers to a skeleton staff of less than 10 soldiers.” Mr. Harding adds that ” The departure of 3,000 troops a year who go through the tough training has also led to fears that the Central America country will be more vulnerable to foreign invasion similar to the incursions by Guatemala in the late 80s.”


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