Belize’s military partners in the United States have donated more than one million Belize dollars in equipment for maritime law enforcement to the Belize National Coast Guard, which was officially handed over today at their George Price Highway headquarters. With more on the donation here is Commandant of the Coast Guard, Rear Admiral John Borland.
Rear Admiral John Borland, Commandant, Belize National Coast Guard: The equipment you see here laid out is part of the enduring friendship and partnership that we have with the United States Government. There are a variety of equipment ranging from zodiac tactical boats that are mainly going to be employed by the SEALS from tactical operations. There are life jackets; there are 200 of them on display. They’re going to be issued to people who work on a daily basis, so they need the best equipment we have. The foul weather here is also going to be issued to the fleet, there are 200 sets. They will be used whenever the fleets are found in foul, bad weather. The better you take care of a man under increment conditions, the better he will operate, it is complimentary, it is a part of the package for the zodiacs. Also the engines and propellers and all the accessories, what you don’t see on display because they’re already in use is tactical gear which is the body armor, floatation devices, night operation devices, surveillance cameras and laptops, all of those were part of the package.
U.S. Ambassador to Belize His Excellency Carlos Moreno stated in his address that two separate but important entities contributed to today’s donation.
H.E. Carlos Moreno, Ambassador of the USA to BZE: This donation today represents the coming together of two outstanding USA Government programs are made in cooperation with Belize and the Coast Guard. In the 1st instance we have from Southcom, our second in command represent by Coronel Ramses here today that has provided training, equipment, and facilities to the Coast Guard. Here today in the background, a construction ongoing on a maintenance facility for the Coast Guard. I’m told the cost of that project is an excess of $2M, that’s a Southcom project. Our INL component, national narcotics an law enforcement also provides within certain parameters, training, equipment, infrastructure to the Coast Guard. So together, both Southcom and The INL, both United States Programs provide material support to counter transnational criminal organization and also to protect Belize’s borders both on land and on the sea.
CEO in the Ministry of National Security, George Lovell, said that despite the challenges the Government faces in keeping the Coast Guard at sea, it is keenly interested in continuing the work of the men and women in blue. As an example he cites ongoing negotiations to build two larger patrol crafts for the Coast Guard.
Ret’d Col. George Lovell, CEO, Ministry National Security: The commandant and I met with representatives from Metal Shack who is a ship builder and we met with them to discuss the possibility of them constructing those 2 patrol crafts that the Government of Belize has been so generous to provide funds for. We have also as you know, have been dialoguing with both, Damen, which is the company which has the patent construction of businesses and our Mexican donors to try and find a way in which it hardens with our international partners to make this a reality for us. I can tell you that we have had some very pleasing discussions with Metal Shack, and we have also had some pleasing discussion with the Mexicans and Damen. We will be discussing nationally a way forward. But I would like to use this opportunity to invite our partners to partner with the Belize and the Ministry of National Security to ensure that this becomes a reality in a very short time frame.
Admiral Borland says that some of the equipment is already in use and the rest will be distributed right away