General — 17 January 2014 — by Albert J. Ciego

A corporal of the Belize Defence Force (BDF), who is suffering with a brain tumor and needs a brain surgery that must be carried out at a medical institution abroad, is getting the runaround from the higher-ups in the BDF and the Ministry of Defence.

Corporal Norman Rodriguez said that he was diagnosed with the condition two years ago and an order was made for him to go abroad to receive the needed surgery to remove the tumor – a procedure which reportedly costs $75,000, but he has not been able to access the assistance that he needs to go away to get the necessary treatment.

When he checked on the status of his request for assistance, he was told that the documents which had been submitted were being looked at by the defence ministry and BDF officials. Rodriguez, who has been a soldier for the past 13 years, said that he is being let down by the army, and that he is suffering from depression and seizures as a result.

Rodriguez said that he was on duty when he collapsed. He was taken to the Medical Associates Hospital, where, after he was examined, the tumor in his brain was discovered and recommendations were made for its removal.

He is fearful that the delays are worsening the condition and shortening his life. Rodriguez is making a desperate plea to the Ministry of Defence and the officials of the Belize Defence Force to step up and assist him to go abroad to get the required operation to remove the tumor.

Rodriguez is the father of two children.

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