Captain Elton Bennett retakes the reins of the Belize Coast Guard at a time the nation is managing the COVID-19 pandemic. Given his recent focus in graduate school, he explained today that one of his immediate priorities is to continue to build regional partnerships to ensure the BCG’s effectiveness in effectively executing its duties. He spoke about the BCG’s collaboration with its Honduran counterparts.
Cpt. Elton Bennett, Commandant, Belize Coast Guard: “That special relationship that we enjoy with the United States through United States Southern Command is crucial for the development of Belize security forces right and the Belize Coast Guard. US SouthCom was instrumental in standing up the Belize Coast Guard right, there they assisted us with infrastructure, with training capacity development, and they will continue to play that part and that partnership is strong. As you would have known, just a couple of weeks ago our Ministry of Defense and Border Security took a trip up to Louisiana to honor that special relationship that we enjoy with them. So that partnership is crucial. We have similar security challenges in terms of drug trafficking, weapons smuggling and migration as well is something that we were both challenged with. So we’re working together, common interests, is something that will continue with the United States but there are other players as well. Regionally, and our border nations of Honduras we’ve always had some understanding of the way Honduras operates out at sea we’ve never really capitalized or maximized on that relationship and that’s something that I really want to move forward with, with creating some legal framework for us to engage more with our Honduran counterparts.”
He also added that he wants to expand regional partnerships including one with Guatemala.
Cpt. Elton Bennett, Commandant, Belize Coast Guard: “My focus now is more an external look to see those partners that we can better collaborate with, where we have common interests. One of the new partnerships that we’re working towards is the Cayman Coastguard recently inaugurated a Coast Guard, with their first recruiting intake earlier this year, I have made contact with the commander of the Cayman Coast Guard and we are already making plans to do joint communication exercise and exchange of information, but of course all of that needs to be formalized through a legal framework, so that’s a work in progress. So that’s that’s really my own look. Not only look internal but in order to fix our internal struggles we need to be able to project beyond our territorial seas in order to combat those challenges that we face as a maritime nation.”
That was Captain Elton Bennett, the commandant of the Belize Coast Guard.