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Apr 26, 2001

U.S., regional military brass meet in Belize

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Elite military personnel from the Caribbean, Central and North America have gathered in Belize to develop a regional defence strategy to battle threats such as the drug trade and illegal migration. The sixteenth Caribbean Nations Security Conference is being hosted by the Belize Defence Force and United States Southern Command. According to the B.D.F.’s Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Heusner, observers from the United Kingdom, Canada, France and the Netherlands will also attend the discussion sessions.

Lt. Colonel Stephen Heusner, B.D.F.

“It’s a conference where the Caribbean chiefs get together to formulate, develop, and execute regional and trans-regional responses to trans-national threats. Right now they’re here in Belize involved at the conference at the Radisson Fort George and it should be over a two day period where they will make a decision on how they should approach the next year dealing with these threats in the region.”

Jose Sanchez

“What different threats are there?”

Lt. Colonel Stephen Heusner

“Well threats involve…I could make a long list of all the threats that affect this region, from border issues, drugs, contraband, maritime and illegal businesses. It’s a long list and what they’re trying to do is see if they could co-ordinate this between the various countries to make it easier for everyone.”

Jose Sanchez

“How many countries are involved?”

Lt. Colonel Stephen Heusner

“So far it’s about twenty-one countries including Central America. Right now we have five Central American countries as observers for this conference, which is a first time for them. Because it normally focuses on the Caribbean. These countries from Central America include Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Salvador and Costa Rica.”

Lieutenant Heusner says that the Guatemalan claim to Belize is not slated to be discussed at the conference. However, the meetings will provide an opportunity for military leaders from both countries to work together.

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