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Nov 21, 2019

Elton Bennett to Take Over as Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard

There will be a changing of the guard at the Belize Coast Guard; the baton passes on to the current Vice Commandant Elton Bennett, who has been with the unit since its exception. The incoming commandant says the transition should be seamless and he will continue to build on the mission of the coast guard. Today, he spoke with News Five’s Duane Moody about the journey ahead.

 

John Borland

Duane Moody, Reporting

Come November twenty-seventh, the Belize Coast Guard will be under the command of Captain Elton Bennett. Bennett has been with the coastguard from its inception over a decade ago after it was forged out of the Belize Defense Force. Vice Commandant for quite some time and having been at the decision table, Bennett succeeds Rear Admiral John Borland, who is moving on to become the Chief of Security of the Ministry of National Security. In a one-on-one today with News Five, the career and senior maritime officer says that the transition will be seamless.

 

Elton Bennett

Captain Elton Bennett, Incoming Commandant, Belize Coast Guard

“I take over as the third commandant of the Belize Coast Guard next week, the twenty-seventh November. I’ve been in the organization before it started; transferred from the B.D.F.; I was one of the officers seconded to really form the coastguard along with Admiral Borland. We are going to focus on different aspects, but we are still on that same trajectory. What happens quite often in organizations in Belize is that when there is a change of leadership, the organization change. That should not be the case. We should be continuing on that same trajectory. I have been a part of every decision made along with admiral Borland. He has had me by his side for ten years and including me in everything. So all of those decisions, those foundations that we built together, we will continue to move in that direction. We will continue to build on that foundation that we have made.”

 

The official ceremonies will also include a graduation for an intake of some eighty-seven recruits who will join the numbers at the Belize Coast Guard. Bennett believes that the additional human resources as well as the recently acquired vessels and equipment will further assist with the fight against organized crimes at sea. The incoming commandant shared some interesting statistics.

 

Captain Elton Bennett

“Before the coastguard was formed, Belize used to average thirteen to fifteen, sometimes eighteen, confirmed drug shipments by sea every year. Since the coastguard form we have been able to achieve that deterrence by our strategy; we are able to repel those trafficking by sea. And now the new avenue of approach seems to be by air. So we need to configure our forces. We are working jointly through the Joint Intelligence and Operating Centre here at Price Barracks in support of the police and the B.D.F. So it is a coordinated effort and we need to ensure that we are one step ahead. Drug trafficking today has significantly reduced from what it was fifteen years ago.”

 

Bennett believes that coastguard personnel have acquired a number of skills that can be used to help others outside of the military unit. And that is one area that he intends to focus on.

 

Captain Elton Bennett

“We’ve done a lot of capacity building over the few years; now it is time for us to give back. It’s time for us to engage with the community, build that public relations. We have a lot of expertise that we could help other sectors for example in the medical field, in transportation, in search and rescue and boarding operations to help other organizations develop those capacities. So what I am really looking forward to is opportunity to export expertise from the coastguard.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.


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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