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Attention to all Mariners!!
This year Trade winds Exercise will be taking place in Belize. Mariners are advised to exercise extreme caution on the 14th and 15th of May 2022 as there will be a live range in the Western side of Turneffe Atoll and East of St. George's Caye.

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Later this week, the premier Caribbean security training exercise, Tradewinds22, begins in Belize and Mexico. Forces from the U.S. and regional nations will train to enhance security cooperation and bolster disaster response.

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Belize and Mexico to Co-Host Exercise Tradewinds 2022

The Ministry of National Defence and Border Security is pleased to announce that Belize will be cohosting Exercise Tradewinds 2022 along with Mexico from 7th - 21st May 2022. Exercise Tradewinds 2022 is a joint security forces and interagency exercise which is sponsored by the United States Southern Command.

This initiative focuses on the interoperability between security forces and partner agencies to counter transnational crimes and to promote regional security and stability against threats and natural disasters. It will also further enhance the participating nations' ability to conduct joint humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.

The countries participating in Exercise Tradewinds 2022 include the following: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Dominica, Dominican Republic, France, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, St Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America, Mexico, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. The Ministry of National Defence and Border Security expresses gratitude to all participating countries for their commitment to Exercise Tradewinds 2022.

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Trade Winds Rolls In to Belize

At the top of the news, we told you about the quick official visit by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

His arrival also coincided with the opening ceremony of Exercise Tradewinds 2022, which both Belize and Mexico are hosting. Tradewinds is a joint security force and interagency exercise it's now in its 37th year sponsored by the United States Southern Command - a kind of fraternal flexing over its region of eminent domain.

The opening ceremony took place about 2 hours before the Mexican President arrived in Belize, and our news team was there. Daniel Ortiz has that story:

For the next two weeks, soldiers from 22 nations will participate in Exercise Tradewinds 2022, which is taking place in Belize.

At this annual military summit, they will share best practices and learning experiences on interoperability, riverine operations, maritime security, air operations, ground operations, cyber defense, dive operations, medical operations, and the integration of women in peace and security missions.

This year's Tradewinds marks the fifth time that Belize is acting as host to the exercise. It is also Mexico's first time as a co-host since the first Tradewinds was launched in 1984.

The geographical ties between these neighboring countries are undoubtedly one of the reasons for their selection.

Hon. John Briceno - Prime Minister of Belize
"So, we are co-hosting - Mexico is co-hosting with us, and for us, that is very important Mexico is one of our largest countries in the region, and certainly one with a lot of influence in the region. Since we share borders, a common border -to us it is very important now that Mexico is taking a more active role in participating in exercises like Tradewinds."

Kevin Bostick - Director of Exercises & Coalition Affairs, US SouthCom.
"Belize volunteered to host it, and it's a different type this time because Mexico is co-hosting. That's significant, when you're thinking about the location of Belize and Mexico together. With Mexico being right next door to Belize, let's say, if there's a threat that starts off the Coast of Belize, and moves through Belize, where are they going? They're going into Mexico. Or if they're coming from Mexico going into Belize, that last step between those 2 countries, to have this exercise working together, simultaneously, lets everybody know each other, and helps to counter those threats, no matter which direction they may come from."

Partner militaries like the Canadian Armed Forces get to listen to their allies and get an honest assessment of the region's might and whatever critical gaps that can be filled.

Lt. Colonel Steven Hale - Contingent Commander, Canadian Armed Force
"For the last number of year, Tradewinds has hosted the training of the combined Caribbean Taskforce. This organization enables us to partner with the Caribbean nations, train a number of officers regionally, to ensure that they're able to conduct their on operational planning and preparation, in the event of a crisis or disaster in the region. So, we use our methodologies and bring them to the Caribbean Basi, and hopefully create interoperability, in case we need to be called upon to to work to work together as a team. The one thing that we bring back every year is we bring back an increased awareness amongst our own officers and NCOs as to what resources exists in the region, so that we know that when we're doing our own planning to respond to a hurricane or a disaster, what we're gonna meet when we get into the region. That's very important to know who our friends and allies are, and more importantly, I would call it increasing the size of our rolodex, so that if something does happen, we can reach down and immediately, grab somebody on what's that most favored program? WhatsApp, and have a chat with them about what we need before we arrive."

As Exercise Tradewinds continue to deepen ties between partner military organizations in the region, new countries are starting to show interest in participation.

Kevin Bostick
"Out of those 22 that we have participating, now, you have folks like Colombia, which for the first time, being a part of observing. We have people from France, Netherlands, doing the same kind of thing. So, it's we're just using those 3 as examples if you look at when people know that people are doing good things, and they want to be a part of. Then, they find a way to say, hey, can we come and observe? Can we come and join? And it starts with a crawl, walk, run. So, you'll have them coming and observing like this time. One of them has like 2 or 3 people here. One of them has 10. It next time, they may have 25 and participate more, rather than just observing. You observe what's going on, you take that back to your country, lay out, hey, we can do this. We can join that. We can help them with what they're doing, and they can help us, which then, in turn makes them wanna come back and be a part of Tradewinds wherever it may be in the future."

Brigadier General Asariel Loria - Commander, BDF
"To the participating nations on Exercise Tradewinds 2022, we got this. Drive on to the objective, and enhance your multi-dimensional skills in the land, air, sea, and cube domains with confidence and high moral ground, for you are well prepared for this duty."

We are told that Exercise Tradewinds usually last for a month, but due to reasons beyond the organizers' control, this year's exercise will only last for 2 weeks.

The US law enforcement agencies that will participate include the US Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard, special operations personnel, and several chapters of the National Guard.

Channel 7

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Belize and Mexico are currently co-hosting the 37th Exercise Tradewinds, a multi-nation initiative sponsored by the US Southern Command. The two-week event features regional and international military units engaging in operations designed to enhance responsiveness to security threats and natural disasters. Belize's participation as a host nation is a testament to the commitment to develop operational and leadership skills and discipline, and to strengthen military partnerships.

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Belize is currently co-hosting, for the fifth time, Exercise Tradewinds, an annual multi-agency exercise which targets trans-national organized crime. The exercise, in existence since 1984, focuses on the air, sea and cyber-domain. On Wednesday, the Press Office travelled to Turneffe with the Belize Coast Guard to get a first-hand look at the maritime component of Tradewinds.

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Tradewinds Takes Media To The Sea For Maritime Training

Last night, we showed you how the Belize Defence Force took the media on a helicopter ride to see the jungle training being offered to their counterparts who are participating in Exercise Tradewinds 2022.

Well, today, it was the Belize Coast Guard which invited the press to observe the maritime training taking place between them and their Tradewinds counterparts inside the Turneffe Atoll.

Our Daniel Ortiz and cameraman Angel Noble were embedded with sailors from all across the Caribbean for most of the day, and here is their report:

For this year's Exercise Tradewinds Initiative, the maritime military forces of all 22 partner nations are based out at the Turneffe Atoll, more specifically at the Belize Dive Haven Resort.

For the last few days, this sprawling 4-story facility and its amenities have been available to all the military personnel of the participating countries. If it were not for all the battle dress uniforms of the different countries, this summit would have resembled a luxurious vacation outing; marred only by the lingering stench of rotting sargassum on the Dive Haven's beach areas.

But, these officers are here to train, network and share professional experiences and best practices. We even found them breaking bread together and enjoying each others' company during the lunch hour.

It's all part of the bigger plan of allowing these allied coast guard units to become better teammates when interacting in the field in real-time.

Lt. Commander Roque Canul - OIC, Service & Support, Belize Coast Guard
"The Tradewinds Exercise is a multidimensional exercise, and it covers land, air, and sea operations. What we are going to see today is what is happening on the maritime side of the overall exercise. So, out there, you will be able to see what you guys learned or reviewed in the past couple of days when it comes to small boat handling and maritime law enforcement."

Petty Officer 1st Class Tyler Morrison - Maritime Enforcement Specialist, US Coast Guard
"Overall for trade winds, we're out here trying to share best practices."

Lt. Commander Roque Canul
"At the same time, our guys get to know the people. They established a network with our other partners and participants. So that is great for us."

The organizers have a Maritime Operating Center set up at the Belize Dive Haven as part of their training regimen. The on-duty personnel is the intermediary between the officers in training and the military leadership of all the participating nations. This provides the officers with insight into the communication that takes place within the chain of Belize's operational command.

Lt. Jr. Grade Allen Armstrong - Member, Belize Coast Guard
"We are at the Maritime Operations Center, which we call a MOC for Tradewinds. The Maritime Operation Center is basically somewhat a radio room, where we relay information to the CTF, the command task force that is the Price Barracks. So any activities that take place on the small boats that you will get a tour, after this, at every one time, we have personnel working shifts on the basis of every 2 hours rotation. The purpose behind the two-hour shift is because we want everyone not to work here in the MOC because we have 21 personnel working in the MOC from all different countries. The purpose of this is to have different personnel work along with each other, to get a feel of how we here in Belize do our radio communication because, of course, that is the purpose of trade winds to get and understand how all Caribbean partner nations work or can be better at working together."

One of the training highlights for the maritime forces is the simulation involving the interdiction of cocaine traffickers at sea.

While on that mission, the press got a rare sighting of a friendly pod of 5 dolphins which came over to investigate the source of all the commotion in their marine habitat.

For today's demonstration, some of the sailors played the part of the fleeing narcos, while the others set chase as the enforcement team. In this exercise, they were practicing proper boarding techniques, thorough searching to discover all of those crafty hiding spots for drugs, and the professionalism needed to de-escalate tensions in this hostile environment.

Dale Guzman - Petty Officer Class 3, Belize Coast Guard
"Well, based on Intel, we came out here searching for two known vessels that were trafficking drugs. Our team boarded the vessel, searched the vessel, and first, the guys asked them their nationality and where they were traveling from. And yeah, they seem to come up on drugs on the vessels. So, they arrested the guys."

Tyler Morrison
"With the ending, we have some culminating exercises that kind of give some activities that may not normally be seen by the local law enforcement teams. So, one of those scenarios is having multiple assets approach multiple different targets of interest, conduct a boarding during their routine patrol, and then implement those best practices to improve their law enforcement training experience."

Petty Officer Dale Guzman
"What we have learned from the U.S. is that usually, when they board vessels, it's really huge vessels. And, the vessels here in Belize City are usually skiffs, small skiffs. So, the training has really shown us where to search along these large vessels, because with a skiff, we can see inside and we see everything. It doesn't have compartments, the majority of the boats here, or in the country of Belize, rather."

Lt. Commander Roque Canul
"These guys are taught how to board boats, how to search on, you know, conduct the maritime law enforcement part of the exercise."

Tyler Morrison
"We try to make it as real as possible, right. These operators have a lot of professionalism. So, they know how to handle themselves and how to de-escalate a situation. Ultimately, you don't want to create a hostile situation in an environment that doesn't need it. But the professionalism that's already shown by the Belize Coast Guard is above par than we needed to train.. So, what we talked about most is effective communication, and implementing different communication tactics, talking back to the base, passing all the information needed so that when they are at the completion of their boarding, they have some way to have the disposition of the vessel and crew when they get done. And that's been a big addition, I think, is the communication piece. But, a lot of confidence-building and teamwork and camaraderie as well have been built in the past two weeks."

Lt. Commander Roque Canul
"It is great for us as a country and as an organization because we get to see how our countries are doing things and doing business. You know, it's a lot of - the difference may not be big, but we see how other people, other countries do best practices."

We understand that a major simulation is supposed to occur tomorrow in Belmopan.

Channel 7

Trade Winds 2022 Maritime Training

Last night we showed a few of the training exercises our Belize Defense Force Soldiers have been engaged in on land and in the air during Trade Winds 2022. Tonight, we take you offshore where the Belize Coast Guard, along with its counterparts from twenty-two countries, has been training for the past two weeks. These seamen have been sharpening their small boat maneuvering and interception skills within the Turneffe Reef Atoll. Today, they conducted a demonstration of some of the skills they acquired of the course of the training. News Five's Paul Lopez filed the following report.

Paul Lopez, Reporting

Dive Haven Resort, located in the Turneffe Reef Atoll, is the base for the maritime aspect of Trade Wind 2022. Coast guard officers from twenty-two countries have been training within the atoll for the past two weeks.

Lt. Roque Canul, Servicing Support Group, Belize Coast Guard

"The Trade Winds exercise is a multidimensional exercise. It covers land, air and sea operations. What we are going to see today is what is happening on the maritime side of the overall exercise. So, out there we will be able to see what the guys learned or reviewed in the past few days when it comes to small boat handling or maritime law enforcement.´┐Ż You will be able to see boat handling of which we are experts of. Those are the capabilities that Belize has, small boats and also the maritime law enforcement side of it where these guys are thought how to board boats, search and conduct that maritime law enforcement part of the exercise."

A temporary maritime operations center has been established on the fourth floor of the resort. The officers operating the center are tasked with relaying information from the field to their commanding officers.

Lt. Allen Armstrong, Belize Coast Guard

"The Maritime Operations Center, MOC for short, is basically a radio room where we relay information to the CTF, the command task force that is at the Price Barracks. So, any activities that take place on the small boats, that you will get a tour of after this, you guys will then proceed and see how the MOC operates and hear how the MOC operates whereby we relay messages to our higher command from this operations center. Here at the MOC we basically log down every information that is passed on from the small boats to our higher. At everyone time we have three personnel working shifts on a basis of every two hours rotation. So, we usually man this post from eight in the morning until sixteen hundred, which is four in the afternoon."

Today, several teams of officers were out conducting rehearsals for Thursday’s culmination day exercise. In this mock scenario, the coast guard vessel received intelligence of a vessel carrying suspected narcotics. The coast guard vessel then set chase after the suspected traffickers. They then carried out the established protocols for boarding and searching a vessel.

PO Dale Guzman, Belize Coast Guard

"Based on intel, we came out here searching for the two known vessels that were trafficking drugs. Our team boarded the vessel, searched the vessel, and frisked the guys, asked them their nationality, where they were travelling from, and they seem to come up on drugs and weapons on the vessel, so they arrested the guys, detained them, informed them they were taking them to keep them under arrest due to the suspicious drugs they found on the vessel."

Tyler Morrison, Maritime Enforcement Specialist, U.S. Coast Guard

"For Trade Winds we are out here trying to share best practices. With the ending we have some culminating exercises that kind of give some activities that may not normally be seen by the local law enforcement teams. One of those scenarios is having multiple assets approach multiple targets of interest, conduct a boarding during the routine patrol, and implement best practices to improve their law enforcement training experience."

Coast Guard engineers are also benefiting from a two-week´┐Żengineering course that has yielded positive results.

Lt. Roque Canul

"These guys are doing an excellent job. We have some very good instructed who are assisting us with bringing out some engines we had down for a couple of months. But this is the essence of that engineer tract, to have it for these guys to practice on. The beauty of it, they will see what they achieved at the end of Trade Winds. They took an engine that is unserviceable, and within two weeks you have three, six, nine engines, that you can say this is what we achieved. This is what we have as a result of training."

Trade Wind 2022 officially comes to a close on Friday. Across the country tomorrow, culminating exercises will be held at the various training sites.

Channel 5

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Update on Tradewinds 2022

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Trade Winds 2022 Comes to a Close

Trade Winds 2022 officially came to a close today. A ceremony was held at Price Barracks in Ladyville to mark the culmination of the two-week exercise. Officers from twenty-two countries are returning home having strengthened relations with regional and international counterparts. Today, we caught up with Captain Elton Bennett, the Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard, and Brigadier General Azriel Loria, the Commander of the Belize Defense Force. They shared how Belizean soldiers benefited from the training.

Captain Elton Bennett, Commandant, Belize Coast Guard

"It is a good opportunity to have our personnel involved with the training. Our personnel being instructors, mentors, and just providing that support system for an exercise this big is a huge undertaking for us. We are grateful for that opportunity that we had to do the training. It also allowed us to focus on our interoperability, particularly with Mexico where we had the opportunity to work within a joint exercise with a Caribbean task force, exchanging information, passing information, analyzing, and then deploying on those intelligence operations in order to be effective in our operational design. So it is a huge opportunity and we are grateful for it, to be the host for this year."

Brig. Gen. Azriel Loria, Commander, Belize Defense Force

"The majority of the countries are from the region. They share our same values, our same doctrines, our same drills, how we march, how we parade on the streets. So, that was not that much of a challenge. The challenge is working with larger armies like Mexico, the Colombians that were here, the French, and the great United States of America. But, that is the aim of the, one of the aims of the exercise, to conduct operations so that we know what are we deficient on and what can we improve on. That is called interoperability."

Channel 5


Take a look inside the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM)-sponsored Caribbean-focused multi-dimensional exercise conducted in the ground, air, sea, and cyber domains, designed to provide participating nations opportunities to conduct joint, combined, and interagency training focused on increasing regional cooperation and interoperability in complex multinational security operations.

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