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Nov 30, 2012

Belize Coastguard reaches a milestone

It was a proud day for the Belize Coast Guard as two significant achievements were celebrated; the seventh anniversary of the service was on November twenty-eighth and the commandant has been promoted to a higher rank. Both occasions were rolled into a grand ceremony this morning. The uniforms were crisp, the band was on point and family and friends stood proudly with the officers as they reflected on the growth of the Coast Guard, which started out with fifty-four men, six skiffs and a huge task. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.


Delahnie Bain, Reporting

Today, the Belize Coast Guard commemorated seven years of service with the usual pomp and circumstance at the George Price Highway Headquarters.  While the force is relatively young, there were plenty achievements that made the officers proud.


Rear Admiral John Borland, Commandant, Belize Coast Guard

John borland

“When my unit, which was the maritime wing of the Belize Defence Force parted ways and became the Coast Guard, we were formed up fifty-four persons; forty-four of us being former military and ten being policemen. The force, the Coast Guard has grown from strength to strength and we have actually reached an established strength of a hundred and fifty-two and as I said in my remarks earlier on, we are in the process of getting approval to actually double the strength of the Coastguard from a hundred and fifty-two to three hundred and thirty-two.”


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

“The recent acquisition of the Boston Walers vessel, the defender class safe boats and other maritime assets and just recently the creation of the Coast Guard special warfare unit are testimony to Captain Borland’s effort. My understanding is the special warfare unit is catered to execute unconventional and special operations that have strategic impact on national security along our coastline ranging from high risk boarding operations, amphibious assault, sub-surface operations, counter narcotics and counter terrorism operations. The construction of an operating base in the San Pedro Ambergris Caye, which is scheduled for completion in April 2013. The recent construction of the main pier at Hunting Caye and the planned arrangements for the construction of another operating base also at Hunting Caye, which is scheduled for commencement next month are all a part of this Belize Coast Guard modernization effort.”


The celebrations were two-fold as John Borland, the Commandant of the Coast Guard was officially promoted from Captain to Rear Admiral, the highest possible rank.


George Lovell

“It is my distinct pleasure to be promoting captain John Borland to the Rank of Flag Officer as Rear Admiral in the Belize Coast Guard today.”


LT Gregory Soberanis, Operations Officer, Belize Coast Guard

“The Prime Minister of Belize, acting upon the recommendation of the minister of National Security, has placed special trust and confidence in the leadership, patriotism, integrity and abilities of Captain John A. Borland. In view of these special qualities and his demonstrated potential to serve in the higher grade, Captain John A. Borland is promoted to the permanent Grade of Rear Admiral in the Belize Coast Guard effective, August first, 2012 by the order of the Minister of National Security.”


Greg Lovell

George Lovell

“I would also like to announce that the Coast Guard Board, chaired by the honorable Minister of National Security, the honorable John Saldivar, has approved the promotion of five other commission officers and several deserving non-commission officers and seamen from within the lower ranks of the Coast Guard.”


As Rear Admiral, Borland was presented with new colors and his flag.


Lt. Gregory Soberanis

“The Coast Guard authorizes individuals flags to those who warrant them by virtue of their office. The Belize Coast Guard has incorporated the use of flags to signify the presence of a flag officer. This flag, signifying the presence of a rear admiral will be present at all official military functions attended by Rear Admiral Borland and will be visibly displayed in Rear Admiral Borland’s Office and flown at the Coast Guard Headquarters as long as he is present.”


Rear Admiral John Borland

“As a poor and lonely boy at that time, I never imagined a day like this would be possible but my dad always believed in me and always insisted that I would be somebody some day. Well, here I am at the pinnacle of a twenty-five year career in the military with a whole lot to be thankful for and a whole lot of people to thank.”


Reaching the highest rank is by no means an indication that Borland’s work is done. He plans to continue to implement the Coast Guard’s core Strategy, which seeks to address the root causes of maritime crime.


Rear Admiral John Borland

“The Coast Guard strategy of which I speak is the overarching policy document that guides the development of the Coastguard. Even my studies at the War College and my promotion to flag rank here today are included. While it is a fifteen year strategy, we are currently in the medium portion which extends from the year 2010 to 2015. Both Mahan and Corbett are included in our defensive and offensive strategies, where in the former we are fighting crime in the coastal and littoral regions and in the latter, we are combating illicit trafficking and transnational crime in our territorial seas and beyond. The Coast Guard Strategy calls for continuous development, modernizing and increasing in capacities that will take the Coast Guard from strength to strength until we are completely able to dominate our sea spaces which are almost twice as much as our land areas as we heard earlier.”


Delahnie Bain for News Five.


The support of the US Southern Command and the Joint Inter-Agency Task Force in Key West, Florida were also acknowledged at today’s ceremony. 

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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5 Responses for “Belize Coastguard reaches a milestone”

  1. Storm says:

    With 175 cays, a vulnerable reef and marine area, and drug routes also, we need an effective Coast Guard. I’m happy to see plans to expand it in size and capability, so we can make sure all of our cays are safe and secure. Only God knows what occurs on some of them today.

  2. Debbie says:

    Belize here is a reason to celebrate. We are making strides in protecting our jewel.
    congrats! John you have made us proud.

  3. blvnjah says:

    Proud of the coast gaurd. keep up the good work guys. we need to rethink the mission of the BDF and put those men and womwn to better use.

  4. blvnjah says:

    Proud of my Belize Coast Guard…Keep up the good work

  5. Gumers says:

    Congrats Rear Admiral John Borland;
    You have acheived honours my friend; you have made your Alma Maters proud and can say proudly that you have passed through their gates; remember your days at BCA and your dedication to the Security of our Country and Waters.

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