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Beyond the Horizon 2017 is a truly collaborative effort Print E-mail
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Written by The Guardian   
Wednesday, 12 April 2017 14:24

Beyond the Horizon 2017 BTH, a combined readiness exercise between U.S. Army South and Belize government agencies has begun, providing medical and construction programs for communities throughout Belize. With the start of BTH, the Belizean people have remained welcoming and with much gratitude to our development partners from abroad.

As recently as Sunday, the first medical services event was held at the Ladyville Community Center in the Belize District. These medical services continued to April the 13th after which it will re-start in the same Ladyville area on April 17-21. All medical service events are open to the public and do not require an appointment. The medical events will open at 7:00 a.m. and the line will be closed at 3:00 p.m. to ensure that everyone waiting will be processed by 5:00p.m. The medical services event will offer family medicine, OB/GYN, pediatrics, optometry, and dentistry. A release from BTH organizers urges that all participants bring plenty of drinking water as weather conditions are expected to be very warm.

With Ladyville being the first direct beneficiary of the collaborative humanitarian exercises, it follows a launching of BTH Horizon on Friday by the U.S. Embassy and the Government of Belize, in coordination with U.S. Army South.  The opening ceremony took place at the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan.  Valued at USD $11.5 million, BTH furthers the U.S. Government’s continued commitment to the Government and people of Belize.

The opening ceremony featured the following speakers: Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. of the U.S. Embassy Ms. Adrienne Galanek, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Hon. Patrick Faber, Commanding General of U.S. Army South Major General K.K. Chinn, Minister of Defence Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of State in the Ministry of Health Hon. Dr. Angel Campos, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Health Dr. Ramon Figueroa.

In his remarks on Friday, the Hon. Dr. Angel Campos said that “…the Ministry of Health is extremely pleased and honored to partner with the United States of America, in particular the U.S Army Southern Command as we launch beyond the horizon 2017 initiative.”  He recognized that “…[the] direct medical and educational services in different parts of the country would certainly benefit the people of this beloved country for now and for future generations to come.”

The Hon. John Zaldivar added another perspective to BTH saying that “…the Belize Defense Force and the Belize Coast Guard continue to benefit from SOUTHCOM through the office of the U.S MLO… we know that you recognize the critical role that Belize must play in the ultimate security of our region and we are fully cognizant of the need to work together to build a defense and security system that is up to the challenges of the new era of regional threats.”

Adding to the cohesive force was the Hon. Patrick Faber who said that the Ministry of Education has a mantra that says education is everybody’s business.

“When we say everybody, we mean those at home and those who are our friends abroad, and from time to time, we engage these friends in order to help us in that role of developing our nation, and today we want to place on record our gratitude, sincerely, to the United States government.”

Maj. Gen. K.K. Chinn, the commanding general of U.S. Army South in his main address said that Belize was truly a jewel and expressed gratitude to the Government of Belize, Ministry of Defense, Education and Health as well as community leaders “…who work tirelessly for the success of this exercise.” He also thanked partners from Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago as well as Columbia for their support of BTH.

“The entire beyond horizon team has been impressed by the support and generosity of the Belizean people, every community has welcomed the projects and service members as partners to enhance the health and education facilities across Belize, he said.

The schedule of the free general medical and dental services for the rest of Belize is as follows:
•        May 8-17, 2017: Macal River Park, San Ignacio, Cayo District.
•        May 22-June 2, 2017: D Company Barracks, Dangriga, Stann Creek District.
The BTH exercise also consists of five construction projects across Belize and are as follows:
•        Expansion of the emergency room at the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan.
•        Construction of new medical waste incinerator housing at the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan.
•        Construction of a new medical clinic building at the Ladyville Health Clinic.
•        Construction of a new medical clinic building at the Double Head Cabbage Clinic.
•        Construction of three new classrooms at St. Matthew’s Government School.

As was explained previously by Maj. Gen. K.K. Chinn, BTH is a collaborative training exercise between U.S. Army South, the Belize Defense Force (BDF), the Ministries of Defense, Health, and Education, as well as partner nations, such as Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, and Brazil.  The project also includes numerous NGOs and private companies from the United States and Belize.  The exercise started on March 25, 2017 and is scheduled to end the second week of June, 2017.

While 2017 is the first year that Belize has hosted Beyond the Horizon, the exercises of the previous years were called New Horizon and this time they are larger in scale.

But perhaps best explained by Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy Ms. Adrienne Galanek, the bonds between Belize and the United States is one of a strong partnership.

“The cornerstone of the United States relationship with Belize is people; bonds among our two nations are marked by excellent partnerships with the Government and its people…” she reinforced.