The U.S. government donated a Cessna Caravan 208 aircraft to Belize’s Ministry of National Defence and Border Security at a handover ceremony March 2 at the Williamson Hanger Complex in Ladyville. U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) donated the aircraft through the U.S. Foreign Military Financing program.
The handover ceremony included remarks from Belize’s Prime Minister John Briceño, U.S. Ambassador Michelle Kwan, Belize’s Minister of National Defence and Border Security Hon. Florencio Marin, and Commander of the Belize Defence Force Brigadier General Azariel Loria.
This $7.84 million donation will modernize the interdiction capabilities of the Belize Defence Force Airwing, making Belize better equipped to assist with reconnaissance, search and rescue, and military operations throughout the country.
The donation package also includes training, spare parts, and on-site maintenance support.
Speaking at the donation ceremony, Ambassador Kwan underscored, “This latest donation from the American people is a powerful investment in the future of the Belize Defence Force and the Belize interagency. We are proud to partner with Belize in our shared pursuit of secure borders and regional stability.”
Minister Marin further noted, “The aircraft will improve our readiness and effectiveness in combatting current and future threats to our nation’s security.”
The U.S. Foreign Military Financing program is a Department of Defense program designed to improve the defense capabilities of partner nations to help contribute toward common security goals in the region. In 2022, the United States provided $1.6 million in security assistance to Belize through the program, which has included vehicles, training, and communication systems.