24 de febrero de 2008



Belizeans head to Taiwanese Medical School
On Saturday, two Belizean officer cadets of the Belize Defence Force will leave the country bound for Taiwan. Twenty-one year old Chantel Castillo and twenty year old Hugo Rosa received scholarships from the Ministry of National Defence of Taiwan to study medicine at the National Defence Medical Centre. The program is for seven and a half years, but before they get to their medical studies, the cadets will first spend four months enrolled in a language course and another eight weeks in military training. This afternoon the officer cadets told us the scholarships are a dream come true.Chantel Castillo, Taiwanese Scholarship Recipient“Quite honestly I have a mixture of feelings. I am happy, I am excited. Of course there is also a feeling of nervousness in going away to a new country and experiencing a whole new culture, but I honestly feel honoured and blessed at the opportunity that myself and the other cadet, Hugo have been given.”Hugo de la Rosa, Taiwanese Scholarship Recipient“My reaction was, I am blessed, I am honoured. I feel it’s a privilege that many youths would want to have and I know it’s competitive, especially medical career it’s very difficult to get in and I know that I motivate those youths who are in sixth form who wan to study to join the B.D.F. and so that they can gain opportunities to go foreign and to bring their dreams to a reality.”Joseph Shih, Taiwanese Ambassador to Belize“We are very happy we are able to open a new page for our cooperation with the B.D.F. and of course it’s in our effort continuously to uplift and enhance the capacity brewing in the B.D.F. this is going to be a long program, long training, seven years and at the end of that become a general practitioner.”Col. Dario Tapia, Deputy Commander, B.D.F.“We are strengthening the relationship, military to military and hence those two scholarships and in the future we are hoping to get pilots trained in Taiwan.”Kendra Griffith“What can you tell us in Mandarin?”Hugo de la Rosa“Ninhoa, which is hello.”Chantel and Hugo joined the Belize Defence Force about a year ago. Chantel is from Belize City, while Hugo lives in Guinea Grass.If you are one of the many Belizeans students looking for a way to further your education, both Deputy Commander Colonel Dario Tapia and Ambassador Joseph Shih, say in the coming weeks they will be seeking other applicants who want to study abroad. The officer selection begins at eight next Friday at Price Barracks. Applicants need to bring proof of citizenship, education, and clothing because they will be confined to the barracks for the two-day programme.Joseph Shih“I am very happy to report that next week actually, we are going to announce again the Taiwan program for 2008 in concert with our international cooperation fund. That’s the largest program we offer, scholarship I mean, for the Belizean students. Last year, for instance, we have twenty-three students as recipient of I.C.D.F. program and also six for Taiwan scholarship program. So that makes Taiwan as one of the largest scholarship giving countries. But I encourage to take this opportunity of course, the students of Belize to take full advantage of the opportunity.”Col. Dario Tapia“People who want to join the officer corps of the Belize Defence Force that we have an officer selection board scheduled for the twenty-eight of February and the eighth of March. It’s a two-day process. As long as they are in sixth form, minimum, they have graduated from sixth form or are enrolled to finish sixth form for prospective candidates so that we can send them abroad to do a particular course of studies. So if any of the Belizean young fellows who are willing and want to serve their country, this is an excellent opportunity to sit this selection board.”The Taiwanese scholarships are for persons interested in earning Bachelors, Masters degrees in that country.

Godwin Hulse & Paul Perriot Senators Designate

He rose to national prominence in 2005 when he led BTL workers in a shutdown of the national telecommunications provider. And now Belize Communication Workers Union President Paul Perriot will be a senator. He was chosen last night as the senator designate for the National Trade Union Congress of Belize. In a four way race, Perriot received 10 of 21 votes. He takes over from NTUCB President Rene Gomez who served as senator until the House was dissolved in January.
In other news, the Chamber of Commerce has voted that Godwin Hulse will be its nominee for senator. Hulse bested John Grief 60 to 13 in an inter-chamber election. Next week Tuesday he will face off against the Better Business Bureau’s nominee. The persons winning that election will be the business sector senator.

Coast Guard at the Crossroads of Change

Minister of National Security Carlos Perdomo has been making the rounds in the past week. He’s visited the police, the Immigration Department and the BDF. And today it was the baby of the bunch - the Coast Guard. This protector of Belize’s seas and coastline may be newly commissioned – but as I found out today – there are big plans for the Belize Coast Guard.

Jacqueline Godwin Reports: We are not sure why the decision was made to relocate the National Coast Guard formerly the Belize Defence Force Marine Wing to its present location in the Ladyville area but it has not helped in the tactical operations on our waters and at sea. It is has been a challenge to secure and rescue because there is no immediate access from the Coast Guard’s docking area alongside the Belize River to the open waters.
It takes at least half an hour to carefully manoeuvre their vessels for a quarter mile through the winding tributary littered with debris and overhanging branches. The ride is further delayed by no wake zones on the Belize River. It’s a deployment impediment that was pointed out to the new Minister of National Security Carlos Perdomo when he visited the facility today for the first time since his official appointment.
Hon. Carlos Perdomo, Minister of National Security said,“The Belize Coast Guard is one of our youngest service organisations and so it has a long way to go. It is in its budding stages but it is going to be a very crucial element for our security because the Coast Guard will take care of the safety and security at sea.”

But as the threat at sea develops so does the Belize Coast Guard. Commandant Brigadier General Cedric Borland told 7NEWS that major plans are underway to allow for easy and quick deployment from two strategic locations this includes the relocation to the Belizean Beach area by mile four on the Western Highway and a base at Calabash Caye.

Brig. Gen. Cedric Borland, Commandant - National Coast Guard commented,“This is going to be a forward base for us to deploy if there are any incidents, any emergencies out at sea we are already out there and ready to deploy. We will have two vessels posted at that location for immediate response within that area. We are also looking at setting up our main headquarters in the area of Belizean Beach so the Coast Guard continues to develop.”

The relocation from Ladyville to the Belizean Beach area won’t happen for the next two years. Construction on the million dollar headquarters should start by the end of the year. In the meantime the National Coast Guard continues to forge ahead as it has since its inception in 2005.

Brig. Gen. Cedric Borland noted,“In fact we started off with just six vessels, now we have nine vessels. We started off with 55 men, we are about to take in a recruit of 30 men, a recruit intake of 30 men.”

As part of the familiarisation tour Minister Perdomo viewed a slide presentation on the Coast Guard’s operations along Belize’s two hundred and thirty five mile long coastline.

Hon., Carlos Perdomo remarked,“It also beginning the work to share the new direction and the new policies of government.”

Brig. Gen. Cedric Borland commented,“We are able to patrol all the way north in Bacalar Chico, we are out at the Turneffe Atolls, we have a station known as Hunting Caye where we have one vessel deployed. We have a minimum of at least three vessels out at sea at any one time so we can consider that adequate. What we are not able to do at this time is perhaps go well into the exclusive economic zone because our vessels are not capable of the endurance out there but that is an area we are working on at this time.”

Minister Perdomo says while the Belize Coast Guard should be saluted for what it has accomplished there is still a lot of work ahead. That includes more vessels and other resources.

Hon. Carlos Perdomo said,“Our operational skills will improve with more boats. The Coast Guard will expand personnel wise, operational wise. So in four or five years we will see an increase in the presence of the Coast Guard in the number of vessels. So it takes a little while but as I said, it is a new unit but it is developing fast.”

In January Commander of the 12th US Air Force Base. Lt. General Norman R. Seip made an official visit to Belize. One area of discussion included the assistance of helicopters to help improve our national security. Perdomo says that possibility still exists.

Hon. Carlos Perdomo continued,“Those talks about helicopters will be a Central American initiative and I only known very generally the details about it but we will sit down and pursue it. It is not something that’s right around the corner but it is developing and we will how that goes.”

And for a Coast Guard at the crossroads of change, the next few years will make for interesting watching.

The National Coast Guard works closely with the BDF, the Police, Fisheries Department and other agencies like the Belize Audubon Society.

Yours ,
Brenda A. Ysaguirre

No hay comentarios: