For Security Forces

In operations such as that one, highly reliable communication is a key, and one of the challenges that the Belizean law enforcement agencies have is that they do not have a single interconnected system.

The US Government is helping to sponsor such a system, in which the elite teams from the police, coast guard, and the BDF will all be able to coordinate amongst themselves to allow for precision and sharpened logistics.

Yesterday, we asked the Commandant of the Coast Guard about it, and he told us that system's integration is already being set up.

Admiral John Borland - Commandant, Belize Coast Guard

"It is as you say an attempt to deal with all the issues we had with communications, where each branch of the military, meaning the BDF and the coast guard and the police and other agencies that work with us are utilising different communication systems; So there is hardly any compatibility there. The idea is bring us on one mainstream communication system, that is going to enable us to talk to each other in common talk groups. To be able to talk on a needs basis among the security forces and not share information that is not to be shared. Communication security is built in to these features. It's a project under Carsi and therefore it not only extends to the military, but other elements of law enforcements as well as other agencies that support us in what we do."

Daniel Ortiz

"Will it be seen by any sort of external forces that is not related to the security apparatus of the country?”

Admiral John Borland

"That is what one of the objectives for safe communication. So there are encrypted mechanisms, encrypted radios, base sets, mobiles, handhelds. As it is right now, many of the communication systems that are used can easily be tapped into and compromised. These will be safe and secure means of communication.”

Of course, these gift horses have to be looked at in the mouth – particularly in the post Snowden era of state level surveillance.

Since, this integrated system will allowed for information to funnel from all these different agencies into one channel, we asked the Head of the Coast Guard if this new system will be insulated from its sponsors. Here's how he responded:

Admiral John Borland

"It will be a system that is set up for us, unique to us, ran, controlled and operated by us."

Daniel Ortiz

"They have in the past been instances where whistle blowers from their countries release information and are spying on different nations and it is always around there sort of activities saying that, no we will not. So the concern is, will the system be insulated from that kind of influence from listeners outside of Belize, related to the US government.”

Admiral John Borland

"As far as the plan goes, it will not be a system that is cooperated or co-managed between the US and Belize. It's going to be a Belizean system. But bare in mind, when we are on operations with US forces we have to be able to talk to them. So there will be frequencies that you can switch to and share and talk to their aircrafts and their vessels at sea.”

As noted in interview, the intercom system is being facilitated by the US Embassy under the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI).

Channel 7