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Commander of Southcom visits Belize Print E-mail
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Thursday, 12 September 2013 00:00

General John F. Kelly greeted by Hon.John SaldivarFour star general in charge of all of the United States military operations below Mexico all the way to the tip of South America was in Belize last week. General John F. Kelly was in the country on Wednesday and Thursday, September 4th and 5th at the invitation of the Government of Belize.


During a press briefing on Thursday at the Police Training Academy, Minister of National Security, Hon. John Saldivar explained that Belize and the U.S. share a longstanding partnership based on respect and mutual benefit. He added that the U.S. has recently been instrumental in improving the Coast Guard's operations with the construction of a forward operating base at Calabash Caye. There will be others built in San Pedro, Hunting Caye, Big Creek and Four Mile Lagoon in Corozal. He added that the U.S. military is also involved in the training for a U.S. Navy Seals selection course. There are also military personnel from the Marine Forces South Reverine training in Punta Gorda. The U.S. has also donated 7 military vehicles known as J8's and two Reverine Metal Shark vessels will also be donated. Hon. Saldivar added that the U.S. has also assisted in the construction of a joint operations center building at Price Barracks and was earlier this year involved in New Horizons 2013.

The presence of the General Kelly he said was "compelling reaffirmation of the continuing commitment by your government." He added that "in my ministry and my Government you and your government can rest assured you have an everlasting partner and ally."

For his part, General Kelly thanked the Government for its hospitality and stated that the two day visit was one that was an educational one. He said he spent most of Wednesday in the waters of Belize where he got a better appreciation of the size of our territorial waters which the Coast Guard is tasked to watch over. He added that on Thursday he flew around the country in particular the border areas and saw our "gorgeous country which is protected from human development." He noted that this is a good thing. He also got a chance to visit trainees in the southern part of the country.

While he did not spend much time with the police department he showed appreciation for the fact that there has been a drastic reduction in crime and he explained that this could only be possible if there was a good force in place.

He ended stating that the United States was in Belize as a partner and it extends its hand of friedship all over this part of the world and the good news was that most countries of this part of the world including the Caribbean want to be partners. He said the partnership with Belize is strong and he is committed to Belize and the great partnership we share.