Uncertain Deployment: Belize’s Military and Coast Guard Await Decision on Peacekeeping Mission to Haiti

Uncertain Deployment: Belize’s Military and Coast Guard Await Decision on Peacekeeping Mission to Haiti

Will members of Belize’s military and coast guard be deployed to Haiti? Last month, 31 BDF soldiers and 20 Coast Guardsmen returned from training in Jamaica. The Canadian military spearheaded the training as part of Operation Trogon Sheild, which centers on peacekeeping efforts in Haiti. But will the soldiers ever make it to the war-torn island nation or will a newly elected Haitian government sort things out? Minister of Foreign Affairs Francis Fonseca says that the government is not certain but remains committed to the CARICOM-led initiative.

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education: “Belize remains committed to participating in the MSS mission but there are still a few outstanding issues that have to be finalized. The funding of the, I keep making this point, funding of the mission is critically important. That has not been, funds have not been sourced as yet but we’re glad to hear that, you know, countries are stepping up. The United States, Canada, France are all saying that they will contribute more. So this is not just a Belize issue, it’s a CARICOM. Entire CARICOM community is concerned about the mission. And also, of course, the very important issue of the logistics of the organization of the mission. We need to have a very clear exit strategy. We can’t send our soldiers into on a mission where we don’t have a clear exit strategy. What will they be doing in Haiti? We have to be very clear on that. What role will they be performing there? So, you know, but we’re very happy that progress has been made. CARICOM has been very, you know, at the forefront of this issue. We now have in place an interim Prime Minister in Haiti. The transitional council is still in place. So I think we are hoping that over the next few months we can see a greater level of stability in Haiti and eventually have free and fair democratic elections.”

The soldiers were selected from the special operations unit of both military organizations.

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