Country Listing

Belize Table of Contents


Defense Spending

According to the government's 1991 figures, the defense budget for 1989 was Bz$19.9 million (for value of Belizean dollar--see Glossary), or almost US$10 million. The budget total for 1989 amounted to approximately 14 percent of total central government expenditures, up from approximately 4 percent at independence. The growth of the defense budget mirrored the development and growth of the BDF, although the defense budget was so small that the purchase of even a modest amount of equipment during any single year produced a significant jump in spending.

Compared with other Latin American countries, Belize spent a slightly larger portion of the national budget on defense. The military's portion of the gross domestic product (GDP--see Glossary) was about 3.4 percent in 1988.

Britain formed the largest and most significant element of the country's external defense (see Relations with Britain , ch. 9). Although figures on such assistance were not publicly available, the British government spent an estimated US$18 million annually to maintain British forces in Belize, an amount almost double the Belize defense budget. The British also funded various training programs for BDF officers and other personnel. Observers have estimated that the maintenance of the British garrison in Belize contributed about 15 percent to the nation's GDP.

United States military assistance augmented the Belize defense budget. Assistance to Belize from 1982 through 1990 included approximately US$2.5 million in Foreign Military Sales agreements that went to provide equipment, mostly for counter-narcotics operations. During the same period, the United States also spent approximately US$660,000 on the education of a small number of BDF personnel at United States facilities under the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program. IMET assistance in fiscal year (FY--see Glossary) 1991 totaled US$115,000. The FY 1992 request totaled US$125,000.

Data as of January 1992