Today the Ministry of National Security held a press conference in Belize City where Minister of National Security announced that GOB will purchase 2 BELL 206 helicopters for the Belize Defense Force in order to enhance security in areas that are hard to reach.


John Saldivar


“Since BATSUB was downsized in 1994 and the helicopter support that they used to provide was pulled, the military in Belize has been faced with serious challenges to carry out its functions in the remote border regions. This has led the B.D.F. to make repeated submissions for the acquisition of this most needed asset over the years. When I took office of Minister of National Security, we revived this attempt to acquire helicopters and the prime minister and the National Security Council strongly supported this move. We were in discussions with the British, the U.S., the Canadians and the Taiwanese; however, none of these have borne fruit. Recently, the opportunity presented itself where we can now acquire these helicopters.”


According to the Prime Minister of Belize they are looking at a cost of 4.1 million dollars for 2 refurbished helicopters.

 

Screen_Shot_2014-10-30_at_8.04.59_PMPrime Minister Dean Barrow


I’ve been assured by the general and the Minister of National Security—we just completed a National Security Council meeting this morning—I had already grilled the C.E.O. in the Ministry of National Security, but that information that was provided to me was analysed critically this morning by the NSC. I am satisfied that subject to one final effort that will complete our comprehensive review of the air-worthiness, if you will, of these assets, I am satisfied that subject to that, this is in fact a good deal. Nobody can doubt the need for helicopters and as I said only reason that we have been detained so long in acquiring helicopters is because of the prohibitive price. Of course, since I first asked the general to pursue this matter, government coffers have naturally been bulged by among other things, the Petrocaribe funds and we are therefore in a happy position to be able to do now all sorts of things for the good people of Belize that we were not able to do only just two short years before now.”


As for operation cost it will take $150,000 per year to operate the BELL 206 Lone Ranger and $130,000 to operate the Jet Ranger.

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