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Dec 17, 2015

US Embassy donates Boats and Gear to Belize Coast Guard

Two significant donations were made today by the US Government. We start with the Belize Coast Guard which received a variety of equipment to bolster operations of national security in the fight against transnational crime. At this afternoon’s ceremony it was announced that Belize will be spending twenty-six million dollars for the acquisition of two boats for the coast guard. Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

A million U.S. dollars worth of zodiacs and foul weather gear equipment was handed over to the Belize National Coast Guard today at its headquarters near mile four on the George Price Highway. The hefty donation is a gift from the U.S. Embassy in Belize to assist the local naval unit with anti-crime operations in Belize maritime areas.

 

Carlos Moreno

Carlos Moreno, U.S. Ambassador to Belize

“This represents the continuation of the fine relationship between the United States and the Government of Belize as it affects the coast guard. The relationship goes back to 2010 with the creation of the Belize Coast Guard and the provision of the vessels and so forth. Today represents the donation of about eight zodiac floatable vessels, two hundred life vests, an equal number of rain protective gear, outboard motors and so forth. It is also a reflection of the level of cooperation between both governments in terms of providing for the national security and boarder protection of Belize.”

 

The equipment, according to Rear Admiral John Borland, will be used immediately by the seals and fleet units of the coast guard.

 

John Borland

Rear Admiral John Borland, Commander, Belize National Coast Guard

“There are a variety of equipment ranging from zodiac tactical boats that are mainly going to be employed by the seals for tactical operations. There are life jackets—two hundred of them on display; those are going to be issued to the fleet. They are the people who do the work on a daily basis; they go to the sea everyday so they need the best equipment we have. The foul weather gear is also going to be issued to the fleet. There are two hundred sets and they are   going to be used whenever the fleet’s on operation in foul weather. Foul weather means inclement weather or bad weather. The better you take care of a man under inclement conditions, the better they will operate. What you don’t see on display because they are already in use are the tactical gear which are the body armor, the tactical floatation devices, the night observation devices and surveillance cameras and laptop computer equipments.”

 

Ret. Col. George Lovell, C.E.O., Ministry of National Security

“These eight zodiacs and two hundred life jackets and foul weather gears will help them to be able to be out there in adverse weather and to be able to transit all those shallow areas that are often experienced in northern San Pedro, Bacalar Chico area and these mangrove areas where these Boston Wailers and fast boats cannot transit. They will now be able to operate in these areas and to be a little more effective. So this will bring more efficiency and effectiveness to the operations that the coast guard does.”

 

Recently, there was a shootout between a coastguard patrol and suspected drug smugglers in northern San Pedro Ambergris Caye and according to officials; the coastguard has been efficient in dealing with transnational crimes in Belizean waters. According to C.E.O. in the Ministry of National Security, Retired Colonel George Lovell, the government of Belize, through a CABEI Loan, has already approved over twenty-six million dollars to acquire two large boats for the Coast Guard.

 

George Lovell

Ret. Col. George Lovell

“We are looking forward to get these large patrol crafts which hopefully will be able to give us this sort of platform from which we could have more sustained and lengthy operations from which small boats like the zodiacs will be able to deploy from and that mothership concept that we intend to do. We have been talking with our Mexican friends and things are looking good for us. But it is not just the acquisition of these assets; we must look at the sustenance and maintenance of these vessels as we get them if we are to be effective once we have acquired these vessels. Just the acquisition will cost us some thirteen or so…and I am saying or so because we are still trying to negotiate cost, U.S. million dollars. That’s just the acquisition and then you look at the annual sustainability of the vessel which again will be in the millions of dollars. I want to appeal to all our partners and those who are already engaged with us in discussion and those who are not to look at this as a capacity building effort—not just for Belize, but for regional security initiative within this region.”

 

These vessels, says C.E.O. Lovell are expected by the end of 2016 or early 2017. Duane Moody for News Five.

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2 Responses for “US Embassy donates Boats and Gear to Belize Coast Guard”

  1. Sniper says:

    What maintenance? If a $50,000 pickup doesn’t need maintenance then why would the $26 million of boats need any? This ministry doesn’t exactly have a record to be entrusted this type of equipment.

  2. Hatari says:

    “Thank you Uncle Sam.” Where would the police, BDF & CG be without U.S. donations? Walking and riding bikes, that’s where. If they could only learn how to take care of the equipment. Just wish the U.S. could donate some reliable supervision and management.

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