Belize, the United States and Canada are cooperating to establish a Joint Operations Centre on the compound of the Belize Defense Force (BDF) at Price Barracks, Ladyville, and it was opened in grand style today. Belize’s chief enforcement agencies – BDF, Coast Guard, Police, Customs and Immigration – will be working with their American and Canadian counterparts on a 24-hour basis to respond to various threats and situations around the country. We get more from BDF Commander Brigadier General David Jones.
General David Jones- Belize Defense Force Commander
“In particular, the threats to transnational organized crime and the scourge of violence and societal ills that can be brought to bear on our Belizean society from such a threat. This facility will provide the government of Belize, the ability to prevent, deter, defeat and respond decisively to the threat of transnational organized crime or major criminal activities of transnational organized crime that poses a threat to our national interests. From these facility efforts, will be taken to prevent these crimes, apprehend and prosecute those involved in such activities. We’ll also be able to play a role in regional efforts of fighting transnational organized crime by assisting and collaborating with all other countries in the region as we are all affected by the same threat. Nonetheless, it is imperative that we cooperate with each other and share the requisite information and intelligence with each other in order to confront our common threats from a united front”.
Canada’s High Commissioner, Stuart Savage, spoke of the assistance given to Belize by his country.
H.E. Stuart Savage-High Commissioner of Canada to Belize
“It’s also at peace and pleasing to see a concrete example and symbol of the relationship I mentioned that I experienced in Caye Caulker, that Canada and Belize have yet another symbol we can yet to encounter our collaboration and our ally ship. It’s into our traditions, respect for great governments, human rights, the motion of rule of law sand of course the people to people contact that we share. I see it as a complement to the security preparation efforts that we have been undertaking recently. For example, last week, I had the pleasure being here on this place for the official handover of some equipment from Canada to the Belize Special Assignment Group which, has for its very purpose and function increasing the capabilities of the beside-enhancement surveillance, intelligence and recognizance abilities. All things that can fit directly into the effective functions to assist an operation center so, it can be more effective for the people of Belize and the region as a whole”.
And representing the United States, Charge ‘d Affaires at the U.S. Embassy, Margaret Hawthorne, spoke of what the center can provide.
Mrs. Margaret Hawthorne- Charge’ D’affairs of the Embassy of the U.S. to Belize
“It will provide essential site for the defense and security forces and will also facilitate humanitarian an disaster response organizations to develop rapid deployment to people in need. But the jock is not just for the security forces as we have heard. Overtime, it can also includes representatives from other ministries as needed such as the Belize Police Department, NEMO, Fisheries, forestry, etc, in order to address all of the challenges that Belize faces. The job was made possible in part through the US Southern Command Counter Drug Program. The Counter Drug Program was established in order to build capacities of our partner nations with the main purpose of enhancing their sovereignty and is designed to lay the foundation for regional security of land and maritime forces by providing partner nations with improved facilities, training and equipment”.
Each country contributed to the construction and equipment of the Center, which the Belize Government will maintain.