Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Belize troops training in Jamaica for possible deployment to Haiti

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A group of 31 soldiers from the Belize Defence Force (BDF) and 20 Belize Coast Guard (BCG) members, along with their commanding officer, BDF Major Ermil Coh, are currently in Jamaica for a month-long training program. The purpose of the training is to prepare them to join a multinational force that will be deployed to Haiti, which is currently experiencing an escalation in violence. The multinational task force comprises troops from various CARICOM member states, intending to support the Haitian National Police Force in restoring security in the country.

The training, known as ‘Exercise Trogon Shield,’ is led by the Canadian Armed Forces. Once completed, the participating troops will be part of a United Nations (UN)-authorized, Kenyan-led, Multinational Security Support mission. The Belizean troops left Belize on March 30th, traveling aboard a Canadian aircraft to Kingston, Jamaica, where they joined the Royal Bahamas Defence Force for training. They are currently staying at the Jamaica Defence Force Training Camp for the duration of the program. The BDF Public Affairs office has noted that this opportunity is a comprehensive program designed to equip participants with advanced skills and knowledge necessary for future deployments, including supporting efforts in Haiti to address the ongoing unrest.
The BDF has highlighted the significance of this participation, which demonstrates nations’ commitment to collaborate in bolstering security and addressing everyday challenges. The BDF has also expressed appreciation for the support provided by the Canadian Armed Forces and noted that this reflects the shared values of solidarity and mutual assistance among Caribbean nations. Commanding Officer Major Coh has emphasized the importance of international cooperation in addressing shared security concerns and reaffirmed the unwavering dedication of the BDF and the Belize Coast Guard to uphold peace and stability in the region.
On Thursday, March 28th, the UN called the situation in Haiti ‘cataclysmic’ and stated that poor governance and increasing levels of gang violence had brought state institutions in that country close to collapse. The UN report added that more than 1,500 people have been killed by gang violence so far this year, and more weapons continue to pour into the country. The situation has been escalating since late February when gangs demanded that current Prime Minister Ariel Henry resign.
The multinational force is expected to bring relief to those facing difficulties in Haiti by suppressing the instability caused by violent gang activity. No date has been set for deploying the multinational force in Haiti.

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