As a former British and crown colony, those living in Belize still have strong ties to the United Kingdom. Â ItÂs not unusual for warships to be found along the coastline and Belize still has a military base in Ladyville. Â This month HMS Lancaster arrived in Caribbean waters and allowed several keen Belizeans on board to see what the warship has to offer.
Though itÂs significantly downsized in scale to what it was in the past, the British Army Training Support Unit (BATSUB) in Ladyville still hosts members of the British army who have used Belize as a base for jungle training for many decades.
ItÂs not uncommon for British Royal Navy and Auxiliary Service ships to be seen within the nationÂs waters either.Â In September, HMS Lancaster, a Duke class Type 23 Frigate thatÂs currently on active duty throughout the Caribbean, pulled into Belize. Â A number of tourists were allowed on to the ship, also known as ÂThe QueenÂs Frigate,Â to look around.
Lieutenant Commander Adrian Gubby explained that the ship had left Britain in May and is due to be in the Caribbean until the end of November when the hurricane season finishes. Â ÂWeÂre here for three primary purposes: defense of overseas territories, counter narcotics, and also humanitarian disaster relief, in the unfortunate event that a hurricane comes through the Caribbean and damages any of the islands out here,Â Lt. Cmdr Gubby said, adding: ÂItÂs hugely important because our overseas territories are still part of the United Kingdom and we want to reassure them that weÂre here to help them.Â Â He also revealed that as Belize is a Commonwealth country, the frigate wanted to ensure that those living in Belize are okay.
HMS LancasterÂs main purpose in the Caribbean is to stop narco-trafficking as much as possible. Â The ship, which hosts ten US Coast Guard officers and 180 UK navy officers, has most recently participated in a Â£100m bust where 22 bales of pure cocaine were tossed into the sea.
After the drugs were recovered, the men were arrested and the smugglerÂs boat was sunk. Â Lt. Cmdr Gubby explained that although the Frigate is built for anti-submarine warfare, these types of vessels are currently being used for more general purposes, with the boatÂs helicopter being used primarily to counter narcotics smuggling.