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November 16
13:15 2018
THE REPORTER: News Staff, - 

Belize Defence Force Soldier Fidel Williams, 24, who just last week took up his post at the Forward Operating Base (FOB) near the entrance of the Sarstoon River, has reportedly lost his left eye after he was involved in a bizarre accident on Wednesday morning.

Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Defence, Felix Enriquez confirmed to the Reporter that just after 9:00am, on November 14th Williams was at the base when he went out on the pier to prepare a boat for patrol. One of the soldier’s feet slipped through an opening where one of the planks was missing, causing him to fall into the water and resulting in injuries to his eye.

While Enriquez said that they are not quite sure what caused the injuries to Williams’ eye, but Police sources say that the soldier slipped off the pier and into the water where he landed face-down on a piece of steel that was protruding from the water.

Enriquez told the Reporter that the BDF quickly arranged a flight for Williams and flew him to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where doctors managed to stabilize him. However, according to Enriquez, Williams’ left eye socket was too badly damaged and he has lost sight in that eye.

Enriquez further explained that doctors at the KHMH performed surgery on Williams and did some aesthetic work on his face to return some normalcy to his features before he is well enough to travel to Merida for further medical attention to ensure that no other nerves were damaged.

As it relates to the deteriorated pier which caused the fall, Enriquez confessed that “the BDF has a licensed engineer so it is not something that they could not have fixed, but it is something that they have not done in time. They do have the resources so they could have fixed that plank. The FOB does need remedial works and I know that it is something that will be done soon because it has already been brought up for discussion.”

As for compensation benefits, Enriquez told the Reporter that he is not quite sure if those will be covered but he knows that BDF soldiers are members of an insurance fund. The BDF has also committed to paying all of Williams’ medical expenses to ensure that he gets the best possible treatment.

The FOB was inaugurated in April 2016 and over the past months there have been consistent reports of it needing urgent repairs.

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