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A cry for help!

LettersA cry for help!


Op-Ed — contributed

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. June 20, 2024

Last time we discussed the misguided two-headed monster that steers the goings and the comings of the BDF from Belmopan. Logic would dictate that their actions have an effect on the persons who serve.

The leadership of the BDF is of a structure that is not unique to the BDF. It was inherited from the British Army (yes and no, that’s another discussion) leadership, and it is a structure that is in place in many countries across the world. There is a commander and his staff. The commander gives general guidelines called “directives” that express his intentions and his “will”. The commander, the quasi-politician, has to ensure that his “will” is congruent with the strategic minister’s, and ultimately, with the government’s national policy. After all, he serves at the pleasure of the Prime Minister, so says our Constitution (the GG on advice of the PM).

The Commander, his will formulated and understood, must now, using the tools of his immense training and experience in military education, promulgate this to the wider force. A great task for one man, some might say. The BDF is the biggest single government department, after the police, with over 1,000 personnel. So, how does he get this done?

In comes the “general staff”. Who are they? Well, they are a group of officers who assist the commander in formulating and disseminating his policies, transmitting his orders, and overseeing their execution. They form the “collective leadership” of the Force, commander and staff. Generally (pun intended), there are staff functions. Personnel, Intelligence, Operations, Logistics and Finance, Future Plans, Communications, Training and Doctrine, Legal, Civil-Military Affairs. Of all these functions, there is only one that has its hand directly on people. Intelligence is an abstract concept, so are operations. Training and doctrine and logistics: numbers in a spreadsheet and a bunch of manuals. All of these need personnel. And thus, the staff function that directly deals with personnel is the most important. Without people, none of the other functions can be brought to life. So, by deductive reasoning, we have whittled, from an abstract idea of a general staff, down to the real culprits of the mismanagement of the Force: the Commander and his staff officer responsible for personnel.

The Commander and his right-hand man (by function). These gormless souls have the morale of the rank and file, minus the selected Orwellian pigs, in a “wowla-hold”. The BDF, in the view of this writer, currently has an atrocity (hyperbole, maybe) as a Commander, and an atrocitarian as his right-hand man. Why is he a walking atrocity? He has no discipline, I believe. He holds nobody to task. They obey his commands … wait, no, they do as he asks if they feel like and if he is meek enough. Atrocity! I doubt that he has the welfare of his soldiers at heart. He was baited by an attorney in a monokini to send soldiers back to a condemned building just because his ego was hurt. Atrocity! He makes a declaration that emails are not official correspondence. Atrocity! He says one thing in the morning and the complete opposite in the afternoon. Atrocity!

And as to the atrocitarian? He does not advise, does not advocate for the welfare of the service personnel, which is a large part of his job. Instead, he simply carries out the misguided instructions in most cases. In other cases, [he] instigates against the service personnel, often with a double standard; hand picks regulations (outdated ones too, but that’s another story) that he wants the Atrocity to address, while he himself is in violation of other regulations. He is also in charge of all official correspondence coming out of the desk of the Atrocity. Spelling and grammar errors galore. I repeat, atrocitarian.

And so we see, with the steering wheel and the actual wheels spinning in the wrong direction, how could the vehicle ever go in the right direction. The leadership of the BDF is an abject failure.

So, what can be done about it? Legal conundrum! There is no mechanism for a recall or censure of this type of atrocity incarnate. If a service member would have the acts of vile human resource mismanagement stacked up against him, and would be privy to other instances of similar occurrences against other service members, they cannot say, draft and/or sign a petition against the atrocity and his implement. The Defence Act is clear on that. Mutiny and inciting mutiny are the charges. So, any serving member is handcuffed and hamstrung from mounting an internal proactive protest against the existing human resource mismanagement and atrocious leadership.

One would have to be reactive, wait for the atrocity to visit them personally, then, go through the redress process outlined in the Defence Act, and appeal to the SSC. The member’s paper, if they are dogged about it, might get to the SSC in 6 weeks. The SSC meets once a month at best. All this, while atrocity and his implement are mounting their vendetta. The member finds himself doing funny duties, on funny assignments. Blacklisted from overseas seminars, conferences, courses. Forget about making the promotion list. Any monetary benefits due them, its approval lost in a filing cabinet somewhere, “temporarily misplaced”.

(AMANDALA Ed. Note: While the stinging criticisms are, of course, those of the writer, who has requested anonymity, we feel it our duty to afford an outlet for his opinions, which, if completely unfounded, will have little impact or effect and be thus ignored; but if found to have merit, may bring about the improvement in conditions for which he is advocating.)

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