In November of 2011, the British Army Training Support Unit closed up shop and headed home after citing financial constraints. But now, they might be coming back – or at least that’s what Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, stated during his address at a B.D.F. passing out ceremony a week ago. Now that’s big news and today Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington confirmed the ongoing discussions. Elrington says it’s got nothing to do with the Belize/Guatemala dispute and everything to do with resources which come with the British Army.
Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
“For some time, we have been talking to the British because we have the need particularly for things like helicopters. You know the jungle back there is very far, it is very difficult to penetrate and when there is any incidents back there, it is very difficult to get to the people who are wounded. So we have long wanted to get helicopter assistant. We have talked to the Canadians, we have talked to the British and the British has the BATSUB here—I think in small numbers, but is used to train their own military personnel. We were hoping that they would be able to enhance their presence here and by enhancing their presence, bring equipment and training that we benefitting from. So to that extend, we have in fact been negotiating with them to try to see if they can enhance their presence here and to bring back these helicopters and the like that we find so necessary. I spoke to one of the under-secretary when I was in Chile last month and he indicated to me that he was fairly optimistic, but the British are going through very difficult economic times and so they have to be very careful how they deploy their resources, but he thought that there was a good chance that we would perhaps get an enhancement of the BATSUB presence.”
In 1994, the main body of British troops was pulled out; leaving behind a small training unit, BATSUB. As early as 2010, the British government claimed defense cuts and started making preparations to shut down the unit. Doors were closed at the end of 2011.
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