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Jun 2, 2011

Belize Coast Guard receives $300,000 donation from the U.S.A.

With drug cartels operating dangerously close to our borders and crime out of control, the Belize Coast Guard today received a sizeable donation to fight narco-trafficking. The equipment came courtesy of the US government and will be used both inland and offshore. Minister of the Police, Doug Singh, received the donation at the Coast Guard headquarters. News Five’s Andrea Polanco has a report.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Today the Belize Coast Guard received a donation of equipment and machines valued at over three hundred thousand dollars from the United States Military Liaison to strengthen the country’s security:

Lt. Col. Chris Eldridge, USMLO

“This donation of equipment is funded through the United States Southern Command Counter Drug Programme which was established in order to build the capacity of partner nations with the main purpose of enhancing sovereign security capabilities in their land sea and air domain against narco-traffickers. Today, Belize security forces are receiving equipment to include one- one thousand dollar fuel trailer, fifteen night vision goggles, sixteen armored shield tactical vests, ten garment GPS maps, twenty marine boarding party vest, helmets, binoculars and one hundred black tactical holster—all valued at approximately three hundred and fifty four thousand Belize dollars.”

The donation will also bolster the coast guards’ ability to man our maritime domain:

Doug Singh: Minister of Police

“The items being handed over today will enable the tactical unit of the Coast Guard to confidently execute maritime security operations. It will assist in the execution of high risk night operations anywhere within Belizean waters. But in addition to that, it will promote the safety of the officers during these operations and that is key. It is not sufficient to demand that our officers protect our waters but we also have an obligation to protect our officers and I think certainly this equipment will go a long way to ensure that they can execute these jobs and tasks responsibly and safely. The tactical ballistic helmets, vests and body armor will provide the necessary protection required to engage any hostile adversary during any high risk operation. Because the Coast Guard will be better equipped, they will be more confident in performing high risk maritime and amphibious operations in the water against drugs. In addition, the one thousand gallon fuel bowls—which I believe is this monster behind me here—provides the logistical support required to sustain operations from any accessible location and help the Coast Guard to extend their operation from the Port of Honduras to Placencia and beyond.”

Lt. Gregory Soberanis, Operations Officer of the Belize Coast Guard says

that the donation is significant to the organization and will go a long way in their every day work:

Lt. Gregory Soberanis, Operations Officer BCG

“One, it will definitely enhance our operational capability to conduct our tasking as mandated by the commandant Coast Guard effectively and efficiently in Belize’s sea spaces. Two, it definitely offers a greater degree of personal protection for our tactical unit or personnel as they conduct our military and law-enforcement mission in our sea spaces. Three, it definitely enhances our ability to conduct night operations and surveillance as well.”

But today’s donation is only a fraction of the Unites States Military Liaison Office’s contribution:

Lt. Col. Chris Eldridge

“We’re also happy to announce that in approximately three weeks, the Belize Coast Guard will receive two more Boston Whaler patrol and interceptor vessels bringing their inventory to four. These contributions compliment the spirit and intent of the regional counter trafficking partnership initiative which is a multi-year bilateral effort between the U.S. Southern Command and includes a new trilateral partnership between Mexico, Guatemala and Belize.”

Lt. Gregory Soberanis

“Last year we were gifted two of the Boston Whalers that you are seeing behind me here and as he had mentioned, in three weeks time, we should be acquiring an additional two Boston Whaler. So it will definitely be an addition to our fleet and again it will put us in a position where we can be more effective in our maritime domain.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

From and initial intake of fifty-five, the National Coast Guard has now grown to a hundred and twenty-one since 2005.

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