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Nov 22, 2016

Exercise Tropical Dagger Concludes Tri-National Defense Gathering

Exercise Tropical Dagger Sixteen came to a successful end today at Camp Belizario in the Cayo District. The four-week exercise is a Canadian initiative to beef up security in the region.  The Belize and the Jamaican Defense Forces honed their skills to respond to international criminal activity that is threatening peace in the region. According to the Canadian High Commissioner, Deborah Chatsis, the training is funded by Global Affairs Canada. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

An international military training concluded today at Camp Belizario in the Central Farm area of the Cayo District. For the past four weeks, security forces from Belize, Jamaica, Canada and the United States converged for the first time in Belize to partake in an intense military course on conventional and nonconventional tactics to combat terrorism and other transnational organized crimes. Exercise Tropical Dagger Sixteen aims to enhance interoperability, operational readiness and effectiveness within partner nations.

 

David Jones

Brig. Gen. David Jones, Commander, Belize Defense Force

“When it started, it was between Canada and Jamaica. Belize has been invited and we started the exercise with them two years ago. I was invited to Jamaica last year to view the final exercise for Tropical Dagger and it was two years ago, I had requested for the exercise to be done in Belize. It is very beneficial for Belize and BSAG is particular because we have special forces from Jamaica and Canada that they can learn from, work together in a joint force and fight the common threats that we have in the region; in particular counter narcotic operation, kidnapping operation, anti-terrorism training that is specialized by the three forces. They can hone their skills together and they are now in a different terrain where apart from the conventional sense where they train in Jamaica,  we have the now dynamic area of the jungle where we have Canadian special forces and Jamaican special forces who are not quite familiar with jungle operations learn from us and getting quite comfortable in the terrain that we have here in Belize.”

 

Today, a demonstration was put off by the trainees. It included support assets from the U.S., three helicopters as well as an assault operation team incorporating all military forces. For both military contingents from Jamaica and Canada, they’re taking back training in jungle operations which they have not been exposed to.

 

Daniel Pryce

Colonel Daniel Pryce, Inspector General, Jamaica Defense Force

“I believe the training set up here is excellent; I do wish that our soldiers can capitalize and come here more often, especially your wonderful jungle that you have here for training. I am sure that we can benefit tremendously from it.”

 

Reporter

“What do you find are the crucial benefits in doing jungle training here in Belize as opposed to regular training in your country?”

 

Colonel Daniel Pryce

“Well we don’t have this kind of vegetation in Jamaica and being a military force, you should be able to operate in diverse situations, diverse areas.”

 

Peter Dawe

Brig. General Peter Dawe, Commander, Canadian Special Operations Forces Command

“On one hand it exposes our Canadian special operators to the jungle environment which you can imagine would be very difficult to replicate in Canada and the Belizean troops are some of the best in the world in operating in that environment. So we learn a great deal from our colleagues down here. And the next thing I would mention is that it is very important for us to train; learning to train other forces, learning to work with them and so doing that operability piece; the ability to operate in a difficult environment together is a big accomplishment.”

 

Deputy Commander of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, Brigadier General Peter Dawe, says that their soldiers have been able to impart specific skills that have proven formidable when tackling transnational organized crimes.

 

Brig. General Peter Dawe

“We are able to share with them some expertise with certain weapon systems. But I would say more important than that is the ability to plan and coordinate very complex special forces operations. Operations that by definition require greater sort of surgical application of force because of the sensitive nature of the operation. So we’ve been doing that for a while and it is something that we were able to share with our colleagues and what we found encouraging so far is how quickly Belizean Special Forces troops are able to learn. They are very good at what they do.”

 

Meanwhile, Ambassador Deborah Chatsis says that collaborations like these strengthen the response to curb transnational crimes as well as forge links between all participating countries.

 

Deborah Chatsis

Deborah Chatsis, Canadian High Commissioner to Belize

“For us this is an important part of the region’s security. What we are able to do is to help the forces in the region build capacity so that they can take action against criminal organization that threaten the security of Belize and other countries in the region, including Canada.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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