The Belize Coast Guard does work alongside counterparts from other countries. According to the Commandant, Captain Elton Bennett, they refer to this exercise as defence engagement. Their relationship extends to the Mexican, Taiwan, British and even the US Navy. As it relates to our neighbors in Mexico, Captain Bennett explained what that comradery entails and how Belize benefits.
Cpt. Elton Bennett, Commander, Belize Coast Guard: “Let’s use the example of our relationship with the Mexican Navy, a long standing relationship where we’re able to do operations together. Monthly we get together we exchange information and intelligence and we plan surface operations where a Mexican vessel along with a Belize Coast Guard vessel would be patrolling together at least once a month to ensure that we maintain that relationship and that we know exactly who we need to call whenever there is a need for exchange of information. We work together weekly in terms of deterring drug trafficking by air and by sea into Belize. There’s a lot of information sharing and cooperation that is not out in the public but people need to understand that there’s a really good working relationship between the Mexican services and the Belizean forces. Whenever there’s an air traffic or maritime traffic coming to Belize the Belizean authority along with the Mexican counterparts would be able to get together, just as we plan an exercise, be able to execute those operations where the Mexican air force will be flying in Belizean air space and Belize Coast Guard vessel would be able to criss cross the maritime border in support of operations on the Mexican side.”
Belize Coast Guard’s Cadet Tyler Reyes is currently on a scholarship attending the Naval Academy in Taiwan. While this is a first for a Belizean cadet, Captain Bennett hopes that this will open the doors for more training for other officers.
Cpt. Elton Bennett, Commander, Belize Coast Guard: “In February of this year we sent our first Coast Guard Officer to the Taiwanese Naval Academy, he’s gone for four and a half years so he’ll be doing a range of academic programs along with military education as well. So this is the first one that will be going and we look forward to improved cooperation with the Taiwanese Navy that could lead to a possible additional training at the tactical level and perhaps acquisition of equipment as well. You know the Taiwanese Navy is very proficient in terms of employing technology in the way that they do things and that’s one of the areas that we’re looking at as well so it’s a new opening for us working along with the Tawianese Navy and the entire country of Belize maintain a very good working relationship with Taiwan.”