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Jul 7, 2004

Various forces unite to form coast guard

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While the police appear to be closing in on the high seas robbers, the National Security Council today moved one step closer to creating an integrated force to deal with modern day pirates. At a meeting held at the Racoon Street Police Station, representatives of the different agencies that will form the backbone of the nation’s new Coast Guard–police, B.D.F, Port Authority and Fisheries Department, agreed to expand and coordinate their efforts to eliminate duplication. Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Alan Usher, says this collaborative effort will enhance the safety of our territorial waters.

Alan Usher, C.E.O., Ministry of Home Affairs

?Quite simply the National Coast Guard Service for Belize will absorb most of the functions that we are doing at this time. They will be focused specifically on all enforcement; law enforcement, resource protection, and safety at sea.?

?Belize has twice the sea spaces as we do land space and as a sovereign nation we have a responsibility for safety within that sea space. We have a responsibility for resource protection; our fishing industry, our tourism industry depends greatly on the management of the natural resources within the sea spaces and indeed law enforcement. We want to patrol, we want to control our sea spaces to the highest extent possible.?

That patrolling will utilise a number of new and refurbished vessels. Usher says the police have completed installation of their Guard Net radio system and are urging tour guides and private security firms to join the network. The police are also urging boat owners to register their engines for inclusion in their database to facilitate easier and faster check by sea patrols.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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