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Nov 24, 2017

“Tropical Dagger” Targets Terrorism, Transnational Crime Training

Steven Ortega

The Tropical Dagger Joint Military Training exercise has been ongoing since November fifth, with the participation of security forces from Jamaica, Canada and the United States of America. According to the Belize Defence Force, the aim of this training is to enhance inter-operability, operational readiness and effectiveness within partner nations. The areas of focus during the month-long training are both conventional and non-conventional tactics, including combating terrorism and fighting transnational organized crime. Instructors were provided from the Canadian Land Forces with Observers from Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Guyana and Jamaica. We get more from the B.D.F. Acting Commander Colonel Steven Ortega.


Colonel Steven Ortega, Acting Commander, Belize Defence Force

“They come in, they train the troops and then they have a final exercise at the end to showcase what they have learned.”



“Explain to us this particular exercise and what was the objective, what was the scenario being tested for real-time purposes.”


Colonel Steven Ortega

“What you just witnessed was a combined and inter-agency approach to this exercise: combined meaning you had more than one country – we had the Canadians, we had the Jamaicans and we had the Belizeans. Inter-agency meaning you had the B.D.F., the Coast Guard and the Police operating as one unit, and that’s what the training led up to, so that they can accomplish what their mission was at the time.”



“This training is for a month; it ends on November thirtieth. Talk to us about the entire focus and aim of the entire month’s training – I believe it was transnational crime and terrorism.”


Colonel Steven Ortega

“That’s right. It all focuses on what the [Force’s] objectives are, which are countering transnational crime and terrorism. So that was the main focus of the exercise, so that the troops can actually coordinate what they need to do in terms of training techniques, procedures, to ensure that they are all singing off the same sheet, basically.”



“How much percentage of the training was practical compared to theory?”


Colonel Steven Ortega

“It’s theory in the classroom and practical right after, so it’s about half-half.”

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