Ladyville – The Government of the United States donated a Cessna Caravan 208 aircraft to the Ministry of National Defence and Border Security at a handover ceremony today at the Williamson Hanger Complex in Ladyville. The aircraft was donated by U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) through the United States Foreign Military Financing program.
The handover ceremony included remarks from Prime Minister John Briceño, U.S. Ambassador Michelle Kwan, Minister of National Defence and Border Security Hon. Florencio Marin, and Brigadier General Azariel Loria. Other Cabinet ministers in attendance included Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration Hon. Eamon Courtenay, Minister of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation Hon. Andre Perez, Minister of the Public Service, Constitutional and Political Reform Hon. Henry Charles Usher, and Minister of Sustainable Development Hon. Orlando Habet, Minister of Rural Transformation Oscar Requena, and Minister of State in the Ministry of National Defence and Border Security Oscar Mira.
This US $7.84 million donation will modernize the interdiction capabilities of the Belize Defence Force Airwing, making Belize better equipped to assist with reconnaissance, search and rescue, and military operations throughout the country. The donation package also includes training, spare parts, and on-site maintenance support. Speaking at today’s donation ceremony, U.S. Ambassador Michelle Kwan underscored, “This latest donation from the American people is a powerful investment in the future of the Belize Defence Force and the Belize interagency. We are proud to partner with Belize in our shared pursuit of secure borders and regional stability.” Minister Marin further noted, “The aircraft will improve our readiness and effectiveness in combatting current and future threats to our nation’s security.”
The U.S. Foreign Military Financing program is a Department of Defense program designed to improve the defense capabilities of partner nations to help contribute toward common security goals in the region. Last year, the United States provided US $1.6 million in security assistance to Belize through the program, which has included vehicles, training, and communication systems.