Letters — 07 December 2016
Belize Defence Force Math (101)

I write as a concerned parent of an officer of the Belize Defence Force, who wakes up on a daily basis to serve and lead the men and women, who are charged with protecting the sovereignty of our nation. Leadership is going the extra mile to look after the welfare of your subordinates and seeking the required relief at all costs.

So what if the leaders themselves needed that same courtesy extended to them? What is equality? It is the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and OPPORTUNITIES. Equality is not existent in the Belize military; it is merely a principle taught to the soldiers on paper but not practiced in reality. Lieutenants in the BDF are required to pass a series of tests to be promoted to the rank of Substantive captain; six (6) tests within 8 hours and the rough conditions under which they are required to perform make it even more challenging. The passing mark was once 70%, which is the universal passing mark in graduate level education, but after calls to the “BIG MAN” it was changed at the last minute after officers rejoiced over their passing.

The universal passing mark is 70% and still is in the BDF for some people and on other promotional exams for corporals, sergeants and sergeant majors. Many years ago these leaders took these same tests when a 70% was a 70%. I guess it was adjusted for “inflation” and raised to 75%. NCOs in the BDF get promoted with a 70%; both officers and soldiers have the same commitments: a family to feed, a loan to pay and bills that pile up daily.

Officers in the BDF Volunteers require 60% to PASS these SAME tests. That is 15% less; however, they get the same pay as a captain in the regular force when promoted. In war-time they will have an equal role as a regular employed captain: 15% may be 15 lives lost, but a 70% may be only 5 lives lost if graded from a 75% standpoint. That is a difference of 10 lives saved… if a 70% was a 75%. I guess they are contented with attending 10 more funerals.

However, that’s a mathematical solution only taught in primary school. In the BDF 70-65= 0 lives lost… IT’S A PASS. A part-time student at the University of Belize is still required to get a 70% on a test, similarly to a full-time student, BUT I guess numbers/math isn’t my strong point…sadly to quote my child, but such is LIFE in the “MDF”….


Concerned Belizean Parent

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