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Oct 15, 2014

Belize National Coast Guard Unveils Development Strategy

The Belize Coast Guard held a press conference on Tuesday with a dual purpose – firstly to speak on the forward operating base in Hunting Caye, and secondly to provide a briefing on the unit’s development strategy. Tonight we take a look at that strategy, and at a naval force which has grown in leaps and bounds since its creation in 2005. The agency’s strategic mission is to protect Belize’s maritime space from foreign and domestic threats, to provide maritime security, safety and protection of the Belizean people, industries and natural resources through military, law enforcement and humanitarian operations. Mike Rudon was at Coast Guard headquarters on Tuesday to find out just how far they’ve come, and where they plan to go. Here’s that story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

On Tuesday, Commandant of the Coast Guard, Rear Admiral John Borland, seemed uncomfortable dealing with the issue of Hunting Cay. We figure that’s because he was put in the unenviable position of fielding tough questions on decisions which were made in the political realm where he does not operate. But he was right at home speaking about the development strategy of the Coast Guard in the short, medium and long term. He started off with a look at manpower.

 

Rear Admiral John Borland, Commandant, Belize Coast Guard

“The objective at 2010 was to be at a strength of one hundred and fifty-two…in the medium term to be at a strength of three hundred and sixty five and in the long term to be at a strength of five hundred and sixty five. We believe that a Coast Guard or naval force a quarter of the size of our land force is sufficient to police our sea spaces which is almost twice as many square miles as we have in our terrestrial boundaries; to professionally man the Belize Coast Guard we require four hundred and thirty-two operators. We need a headquarters of a hundred and twenty-eight for admin and logistics which will also include three SEAL platoons.”

 

And of course, the Coast Guard is nothing without these assets – boats which are an integral part of their daily operations. Where boats are concerned, the Coast Guard has come a long way, and Borland is already looking ahead.

 

John Borland

Rear Admiral John Borland

“We started out in 2005 with the refurbished Eduardono go fast. We upgraded now to a fleet of Boston Whalers and safe boats and in the long term we’re looking at acquiring two eighty-seven foot patrol boats which have already been approved in the CABEI project which we heard our finance people speak to earlier last month. The picture depicts also the location of the bases, the boats and also the two large future large patrol crafts which will be used to police the extent of our exclusive economic zone, which at this moment we can’t do because it requires larger platforms and the ones we currently operate only allow us to do mainly coastal and territorial sea operations.”

 

Then there are the forward operating bases – facilities from which the Coast Guard can be deployed as needed, full force and readiness with dramatically reduced response times. These bases will be placed at strategic locations in Belize’s territorial waters.

 

Rear Admiral John Borland

“This shows a breakdown of the forward operating bases with their locations and the time span by when we expect these projects to be completed. Calabash Cay was completed in 2009, the headquarters where we are standing in 2010, San Pedro in November of last year; Hunting Cay is currently under construction and is due delivery in three months; Northern Ambergris which is a Government of Belize project in 2015; Big Creek, a Southern Command Project, will break ground in 2015; Consejo in 2015 as well; Sapodilla Lagoon in 2016 – this is a partnership between the Coast Guard and a private entrepreneur; Twin Cays down in the South is a partnership between the Coast Guard and Fisheries, and last but not least – 2018 for a Punta Gorda forward operating base. Each of those nine forward operating bases will be complemented by two boats. Each boat crew has a complement of eight which gives you a total of sixteen operators per forward operating base. Sixteen operators by nine gives us a hundred and forty-four operators.”

 

With all that in place, Borland is confident that the Belize Coast Guard will be able to adequately fulfil its strategic mission. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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1 Response for “Belize National Coast Guard Unveils Development Strategy”

  1. Hatari says:

    I totally agree with Admiral Borland. We must have a functional Coast Guard. And again, who is going to pay for all this. Wait, here comes Uncle Sam again.

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