OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 12, 2012) - Canada will donate 2,000 surplus utility vests to the Belize Defence Force (BDF) in support of Canada's Americas' Strategy and broader commitments to support Central American countries in their efforts to address the security situation in the region.
"This donation of utility vests is another example of our government's growing cooperation with American countries and Belize in particular," said the Honourable Peter MacKay. "The donation of these vests to the Belize Defence Force supports a regional partner and better enables them in their efforts to address security challenges in their country and region."
Declared surplus by the Canadian Forces, these utility vests have multiple functions and are composed of pockets for arms and additional pockets for alternative use such as small radios and First Aid kits.
This donation of equipment is in response to a BDF request for Canadian Forces' assistance with the acquisition of vests, and will support BDF operations and training. These 2,000 load carrying vests represent a surplus to the needs of the Canadian Forces. This support for Belize is a tangible example of Canada's implementation of its objective, under the Americas' Strategy, to address insecurity and advance freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law through capacity building.
"Canada will continue to work with Belize and our other Central American partners to help strengthen security institutions and increase capacity to respond to immediate security threats in our hemisphere," said the Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs).
"I am very pleased we were able to make this transfer of equipment to the Belize Defence Force happen," said General Walt Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff. "It is very important that we continue to engage and cooperate with our defence partners in the Americas whenever we are able. It is my hope we will continue to develop our relationships throughout the region in the coming years."
Major-General Richard Foster, Deputy Commander, Canada Command will transport the vests to Belize City, Belize, for presentation to senior officials of the BDF on behalf of Canada.
Canada and Belize share a Commonwealth history, many values and cultural ties. Belize has been a member of the Military Training and Cooperation Program since 1983 and Canada and Belize have shared positive bilateral relations since its independence.