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Jan 13, 2009

John McAfee donates million dollar vessel to Coastguard

Story PictureThe Belize Coast Guard is intensifying its war against drug trafficking and strengthening rescue missions across the country. Some help for its efforts came their way today from John McAfee who donated a twenty-seven foot boat to the BNCG worth one point one million dollars. If his name rings a bell, it is because McAfee is the founder of McAfee Antivirus software, used in computers around the globe. McAfee, who is also a freshly sworn-in Belizean, handed over the vessel to the Coast Guard in San Pedro this afternoon. The anti-virus mogul told us why he’s taken up the anti-drug torch.

Dr. John McAfee, Donor
“Why this donation to the coast guard? I felt it more of a duty than anything else. I’ve just recently become a permanent resident of Belize and I’m very grateful that the country of Belize allowed me to live here permanently and I wanted to give something back and I think the magnitude of the gift reflects the magnitude of my gratitude. I think it’s the first boat that they have that has a full compliment of electronics radar that is connected to their GPS system that can for example identify boats fifty miles away in terms of the size and shape and what direction their moving. This is my personal craft, its only a couple of years old. It has fewer than two hundred hours on the engines but I have similar boats with similar capabilities so I can vouch for the fact that it will serve them well.”

Admiral Cedric Borland, Cmdr., Nat’l Coast Guard Service
“This vessel has some unique capabilities. It’s a twenty-seven foot rigged but it’s fitted with electronic equipment, communication equipment and navigational equipment which is going to enhance our operation effectiveness at sea. With the equipment we will be able to track, monitor and intercept activities out at sea, whether it be for search and rescue or illegal activities. It also has some unique navigational equipment where we will be able to navigate through treacherous waters. In addition to that navigational equipment to track and move unto illegal activities out at sea. With this particular vessel, we will have no problem operating at night. We’d be able to see at night using the radar capability. We’d be able to navigate at night. In addition to that, this vessel has an array of spotlights that we will be able to use at night whether it be for boding other vessels or recovery missions.”

The vessel is able to accommodate up to thirty individuals at any one time and Borland says it will be used for natural disasters to transport persons and supplies. The Commander also spoke about the year ahead for the Coast Guard.

Admiral Cedric Borland, Cmdr., Nat’l Coast Guard Service
“This year we expect to be a very successful year for the Coast Guard. This is the first event that we’ve had for this year, taking back this special vessel that is going to meet our new requirements. But in addition to that, we have the Ford Operation based at Calabash Caye that we expect to inaugurate sometime in early March. In addition to that, we have the Coast Guard main headquarters that is being constructed at the Old Belizean Beach. We expect construction to start around the end of February on that particular site. So we can look forward to many successes for the Coast Guard. I must mention that since last year, we have been planning for this year. We also expect, in addition to the infrastructure development, we are expecting two new vessels from the U.S. government. Those are going to be some high speed intercept vessels that will be able to give us sixty, seventy miles per hour on the high seas and be able to engage high seas with waves up ten to twelve feet.”

Duane Moody
“Those vessels that is intended to come in, they will also facilitate with the search and rescue as well as intercepting crime, other crime vessels etcetera, etcetera?”

Admiral Cedric Borland
“Yes, of course. Our mission mainly is security, safety and protection out at sea. And when we look at security, we look at drug trafficking, we look at illegal fishing, illegal migration. There is a number of other illegal activities occurring there that we intend to intercept.”

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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