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#406851 - 05/03/11 07:50 PM Central American Security Conference in San Pedro
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Belize prepares to host the Central American Security Conference

Participants of the Central American Security Conference are today arriving in Belize. The venue for the conference is Ambergris Caye. Jorge Aldana has the details in the following story.

Jorge Aldana – San Pedro Correspondent
Security personnel on the island are on high alert and clearly visible as the law enforcement agencies tighten up security on the eve of a regional conference. Heads of the Defense from the region are arriving today Tuesday on Ambergris Caye for the Central American Security Conference which takes place on Wednesday. Participating countries include Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, Columbia, United States of America, Canada, Dominican Republic and Mexico.

The theme of the conference is “Counter Illicit trafficking – strategy, objectives implementations and resources.” One of the key areas that the Heads of Defense of the region and their delegations will discuss includes issues and future strategies to counter illicit traffic activities in the region. The conference is being Co hosted by Belize and the United States of America. Heading the Belize delegation is Belize Defense Force Commander General Dario Oscar Tapia while US Southern Commander General Douglas Fraser will head the US delegation. Official opening ceremony for the event is set for 8:00 o’clock on Wednesday morning at Coco Beach Resort. This will be followed by a series of high level meetings.

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#406945 - 05/05/11 01:09 AM Re: Central American Security Conference in San Pedro [Re: Marty]
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REGIONAL HEADS OF SECURITY MEET

Representatives from Security forces from around the region are on Ambergris Caye for the annual Central American Security Conference.

Jorge Aldana reporting for LOVEFM…

“Over a dozen countries from Central America, North America, South America and the Caribbean have been invited to participate in the Central American Security Conference. The two days conference also has representatives from the Conference of Central American Armed Forces (CFAC), Central American Integration System (SICA), and senior leaders from the U.S. State Department, U.S Northern Command, and the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies. It is one of three regional security conference sponsored by the US Southern Command held under the theme Counter Illicit trafficking – strategy, objectives implementations and resources. During his opening remarks, Commander of the Belize Defense Force General Dario Tapia explained that Belize is not speared from illicit trafficking.

General Dario Tapia - Commander - Belize Defense Force

“For many of our nations, illicit trafficking is a major threat to national security and in Belize it is no different. In fact, we strongly view it as an issue that is eating away at the core fabric of our society and therefore the Government of Belize is putting a major emphasis and priority in addressing this ill before it is too late.”

Also speaking at the opening ceremony was General Douglas Fraser, the Commander US Southern Command. According to General Fraser, the region is a focus for the US and the conference will give participating countries and opportunity to learn from each other.

General Douglas Fraser - Commander - US Southern Command

“Our focus, as all of you know is on the issue of transnational criminal organizations and the illicit activity that they conduct. Unfortunately it is impacting each and every one of our countries and so I look forward to sharing our viewpoints, sharing our operations and what we are seeing and the impact within our individual countries and discuss how we can work more closely to addressed this problem.”

And while the problem is regional, here in Belize, General Tapia says that the country is tackling the issues from all angles.

General Dario Tapia - Commander - Belize Defense Force

“We have even gotten more involved in Belize City because of the illicit activity that goes on within our own country. It is a major threat to our national security. We recognize it, the government also recognize it and we are putting more efforts in trying to address the issue of illicit trafficking; however because it is transnational in nature we need the cooperation of many of the nations that are here today represented in this conference.”

Jorge Aldana - Reporter

Would you say that the local crime that is happening is a result of what you are discussing?

General Dario Tapia - Commander - Belize Defense Force

“As I mentioned we don’t produce arms in Belize it has to come from somewhere and certainly small arms trafficking is also an issue for the region, it is not only Belize that finds itself with lots of small arms. There are countries that don’t produce and they have a problem with small arms so it is a major threat, small arms trafficking and that is why I think it is essential that one of the key things of this forum is for us to be able to share information and be able to tackle the issue of small arms trafficking and so I think that is one of the key areas that we can also address.”

Jorge Aldana – Reporter

Are you looking at other countries and try to adapt certain strategies that they have in place and implement it in Belize?

General Dario Tapia- Commander - Belize Defense Force

“Well certainly as General Fraser mentioned in his opening statement we are here to learn from each other, to see what will work for a particular nation and see if we are able to adapt something or share how they make it work in their country and I think any lesson learnt from other country that we can adopt in Belize I think we are able to adapt it as well.”

But even with the US trying to cut spending due to the global recession, it has committed 200 million dollars to the region to tackle such illicit operations.

General Douglas Fraser - Commander - US Southern Command

“There will be an impact, again I don’t know the amount, the focus. When the President was here and dedicated $200,000.00 to address this effort next year and that is a one year number. It remains a very significant focus for United States as well as other countries, but it really points to the real key, there is again not one country and not one solution to this problem, we all have to use our resources to focus on the problem; communicate what we are doing and how we can coordinate better so that in working together we address the problem and don’t look for just an outside solution; I think there is inside and outside solutions and it is us working on an international basis that addresses the problem.”

The meeting is being held at Coco Beach Resort and will end tomorrow.

LOVEFM

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#406967 - 05/05/11 01:50 PM Re: Central American Security Conference in San Pedro [Re: Marty]
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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.


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#406971 - 05/05/11 01:56 PM Re: Central American Security Conference in San Pedro [Re: Marty]
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Central American Security Chiefs Converge On Belize

Earlier on in the news we showed you how Lieutenant Colonel David Jones had to be flown in via British Helicopter from a security conference San Pedro to deal with the grenade situation in the Lake Independence area.

And, without reading too much into it, that is a microcosm, or maybe, better yet, a metaphor, for Belize's role in the Central American Security Conference which was opened today on San Pedro: "we'd love to help, but, first, we’ll be needing your help with a couple emergencies."

Of course, when it comes to security matters, with the contagion of crime blighting the entire Americas, everyone needs help, and at today's security conference, representative of a dozen countries from Central, North and South America and the Caribbean discussed the confounding crime problem.

The event was hosted by the Belize Defence Force, and the US Army SOUTHERN COMMMAND AND 7news was there:

Jim McFadzean Reporting:

As the regions' economies struggle to rebound from the current global economic recession, trans-national crimes continue to impact heavily on the slow process. And nowhere are the effects of illicit trafficking, whether it be drugs, arms or ammunition, and the most hideous of all, human trafficking, have such a dibilitating effect than in Central America and the Caribbean region. So important that it topped the agena at last December's meeting of the 36 Annual Summit for SECA Head's of State.

PM Dean Barrow
"The discussion of the Regional Security Situation, and that involves looking at all aspects, including drug-trafficking, including money laundering, including cross-border crimes, including human trafficking. There is a need for even closer collaberation among Central American States,"








General Douglas Fraser, Commander SOUTHCOM
"This an important security conference. We've talked about it significantly, Trans-National Criminal Organizations and they illicit trafficking that they conduct is impacting all of our nations. And it's all impacting us maybe differently, but it's impacting all of us. It's hindering and threatening our sovereignty, and it is an issue that we need to address, and it is why we are here to play our role. Because the Armed Forces of the Region have a limited role that we play in conjunction with our other partners., our Law Enforcement partners as well as others throughout the region."




The reality is that funds are drying up from this region's main source of funding, The United States of America. Any new efforts to combat this scourge will have to rely less on the almighty dollar and more on sharing of intelligence.

Brigadier General Dario Tapia, Commander BDF
"In terms of resources, yes in many of our economies, because of the current financial crisis that is not only affecting Belize, but everyone at this conference, that is one of the themes of the conference, to see where we can, if possible, share resources, share intelligence, so that we, within our own country, are able to tackle the problem that we face."

General Douglas Fraser
"You seen the focus within in Mexico, at least from the United States' stand-point. We have been working with Colombia for other years; there is growing recognition internationally of the threat and the concern to Trans-National Criminal Organizations in the Western Hemisphere. The Central American Integration System, SECA, will have a meeting in the end of June, in which they will discuss that. And which many donors, commercial as well as international donors, are looking at how they can support it. It's not just, and I emphasize this, "a whole of government approach", to the issue as we look at it. There is not just one solution; we all have to work together to address it."

The threat of trans-national crimes to the economic recovery and stability of Belize and the rest of the region is huge.

General Douglas Fraser
"We'll examine the problem, the threat; we'll look at short lessons in how we can learn from one another on what we're doing to address this, and have the opportunity to exchange ideas with intent of understanding one another. Being able to share information better, and being able to coordinate our efforts within countries and across countries in a much better effort to address the common threat that we have."

Brigadier General Dario Tapia
"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, small arms trafficking, and that is why I think it's essential one of the key things of this forum is for us to be able to share information, and be able to tackle the issue of small arms trafficking."

Belize like the rest of Central America and the Caribbean is a major trans-shipment point for both drugs and human trafficking. Last November's drug bust on the Hummingbird Highway, largest in the countries history, worth over $50 million is testament to that. Yet, unlike our neighbor to the north, Belize receives but a trickle of the funds coming out of Washington in the overall efforts to keep the Mexican and Colombian Cartels at bay.

Jim McFadzean
"The American Government is obviously trying to reduce its spending because of the current recession. How will this affect the funding for small economies in this region in this battle against trans-national crime."

General Douglas Fraser
"I can't answer the specifics, those are discussions we're having right now. There will be an impact, I don't know the amount, the focus and present is here, and dedicated $200 million to address this effort next year, and that's a one year number. It remains a very signficant focus for the United States, as well as other countries, but it really points to the real key. There is, again, not one country and not one solution to this problem. We all have to use our resources."

Last night's grenade incident is proof that the proliferation of drugs, arms and ammunition will continue to pose a serious threat to the security and stability of region.

The Central American Security Conference is one of three regional security conferences sponsored by US SOUTHCOM every year. This event, follows the 2011 Caribbean Nations Security Conference which was held in Trinidad and Tobago.

Channel 7


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#407094 - 05/06/11 01:49 PM Re: Central American Security Conference in San Pedro [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy
Representatives from a dozen countries from Central, North and South America; the Caribbean, as well as representatives from the Conference of Central American Armed Forces (CFAC), Central American Integration System (SICA), senior leaders of the United States State Department, United States Northern Command and the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies; were present a the two day conference held in the conference room at Coco Beach located north of San Pedro Town.

The conference, under the theme, "Counter Realistic Trafficking Strategies Objectives Implementations and Resources", focused on strategies, objectives, implementation and resources supporting counter illicit trafficking operations in the region. The conference commenced on Wednesday May 4th at 8:00am with opening remarks by Brigadier General Dario Tapia, Commander of the Belize Defence Force, and United States Air Force General Douglas Fraser, Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) commander, followed by a brief press briefing.

In his welcome address Brigadier General Dario Tapia highlighted that the issue of illicit trafficking poses security issues of regional concern. He re-affirmed that it is a major threat for national security; and in Belize it is strongly viewed as an issue eating away at the core of our societies. He stated, "The Government of Belize is putting major priority in addressing this issue before it is too late. Because illicit trafficking is transnational in nature, we strongly believe that regional corporation can benefit us in combating it".

Throughout the conference, representatives from the various countries and departments will be sharing experiences, examine problems and threats; work on lessons that would allow them to learn from each other; exchange ideas, working on understanding each other and share ideas on better coordination efforts between countries.

The extent of illicit trafficking extends to drug trafficking, human trafficking, small arms trafficking and other issues that may threaten the various nations involved. The conference came to an end on Thursday May 26th.

San Pedro Sun

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