November 28, 2015 will mark the tenth anniversary of the formation of the Belize National Coast Guard (BNCG), the youngest of Belize’s uniformed services. As part of that celebration, the Coast Guard today welcomed 45 recruits into the ranks as Seamen Apprentices, increasing its strength to 320 total enlisted men and officers, a long way from the original 54 officers that formed the force ten years ago. According to Commandant of the Coast Guard, Rear Admiral John Borland, few knew what the Coast Guard was or would become, but things have changed since then.
Rear Admiral John Borland, Commandant of the Coast Guard: Ten years of growth and development that saw us being transformed from a handful of brave soldiers and police men to form the nucleus of the coast guard. From the early years of struggle and sacrifice, to holding the unit together, struggling with an identity where some could not distinguish who or what the coast guard really was. Where when it would seem convenient, we would be public servants, and then on another day we were law enforcement officers and yet on another day, we would be a part of the military or armed forces of Belize. But one thing we were always sure of, was that we were here to stay, that we were here to serve this nation and that we would live or die by our core values of courage, commitment, and respect and that we would always be ready for anything as our motto implies.
And the Commandant had some special words for his new recruits.
Rear Admiral John Borland, Commandant of the Coast Guard: Congratulations. Today, the hell that you have endured for the past 12 weeks is over. You are now graduating as qualified members of the Coast Guard, a title befitting of only the best. The standards of skills and proficiencies you have acquired must never be lost. You will not go to bed tonight, or wake up tomorrow with your drill instructor shouting in your ear, but you may never lose the edge on life that they gave to you. From now on, where you go, or what you become in the Coast Guard is up to you. From now on, it’s about what you can do for the team. It’s about being competitive, and sharpening your skills daily. It’s about living the Coast Guard core values, and being ready for anything. Congratulations to you and your family.
The top award went to Jason Leslie as champion recruit. A female, Diana Velasquez, was champion shot, a first for that award. Ashanti Velasquez won the award for best overall female recruit. Edwardo Coh was best swimmer while Michael Perrera was best in physical fitness. Congratulations to all the new members.