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May 4, 2011

Regional Security Conference with Central American Armed Forces and U.S.

Our headline news tonight is about a grenade that was launched at a group of women and children. It didn’t go off but it threw the community into panic. In San Pedro, big guns from the region are in a conference on illicit trafficking, that’s the illegal trading, selling or dealing in specified goods, including humans, drugs and arms. Organized crime is big business in other parts of the world, and it has been making its way across our borders. To curb these transnational crimes, the Belize Defense Force and the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) are engaged in a two-day Central American Security Conference (CENTSEC). News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports from San Pedro Town.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Representatives from over twelve countries in the Caribbean, Central, North and South America are taking part in a regional security conference on illicit trafficking. The conference, which will focus on specific strategies, objectives, implementation and resources, highlights the importance of immediate collaborative efforts.

Douglas Fraser

General Douglas Fraser, Commander  SOUTHCOM, U.S.

“Transnational organizations and the illicit trafficking that they conduct is impacting all our nations and it’s all impacting maybe differently but it’s impacting all of us and its hindering and threatening our sovereignty and it is an issue that we need to address and it is why we’re here to play our role because armed forces of the region have limited role that we play in conjunction with our other partners.”

While it is a global problem, one of the issues for a third world country like Belize is the availability of resources to help in the fight against transnational crime, to which Brigadier General Tapia said that pooling of resources is vital:

Dario Tapia

Brigadier General Dario Tapia, Commander, B.D.F.

“That is one of the things of the theme of the conference to see where we can if possible, to share resources, share intelligence and so that we within our own country are able to tackle the problem that we face. It could be simple, this morning at my opening statement I spoke about how the computer and the internet with a software, we can share intelligence. We are sharing at a limited basis the intelligence of air trafficking so it won’t take much resources I think there are simple tools that we can adapt  to be able to tackle this problem.”

General Douglas Fraser

“The focus and the President were here and dedicated two hundred million dollars to address this effort next year and that’s a one year number. It remains a significant focus for the United States as well as other countries.”

Another issue which will be discussed is the threat of the growing trafficking of small arms.

Brigadier General Dario Tapia

“We don’t produce arms in Belize; it has to come from somewhere and certainly as I mentioned small arms trafficking is also an issue for the region. It’s not only Belize that finds itself with lots of small arms.  There are countries that also don’t produce and they have a problem with small arms. So it is a major threat.”

To help curb that threat, including trafficking of persons and illicit substances, the work has started on a Tri-Border Corporation:

Brigadier General Dario Tapia

“One of the things we have been working on has been a Tri-Border corporation security corporation, between Belize, Mexico and Guatemala. I think you saw a press release couple weeks ago when I was in Mexico it is to advance that security corporation for our border to be able to umm whenever have a problem at our border we are able to communicate with the Mexicans so that they are able to address it on their side it it’s moving from Belize to Mexico and similarly from Belize to Guatemala. And in the reverse to be able to for them anything that comes our way from their countries that they’d be able to share with us.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

Also participating in the conference are representatives from the Conference of Central American Armed Forces (CDAC), Central American Integration System (SICA), U.S State Department, U.S Northern Command and Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Regional Security Conference with Central American Armed Forces and U.S.”

  1. rod says:

    this will change nothing we have no leadership our national defense minister is a joke he doesnt even know whats going on at the airport much less in the jungles of the streets and in the interior of the country this whole gov. is a joke no leadership equals destruction of life when will you all get this.

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