Last Friday saw the graduation of over forty men and women of the Belize Coast Guard and the celebration of the organization’s tenth anniversary. Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, who was one of the main speakers, spoke on the country’s national security and how the ministry intends to boost the efforts and resources of the Belize Coast Guard.
“The Coast Guard will continue to develop based on the strategic plan which is about to commence its last five years of a 15-year planning period. This recent revised long term strategy for 2015 to 2020 now calls for an increase in the Coast Guard strength to 700 personnel, 30 boats and 10 Forward Operating Bases. The acquisition of two large patrol vessels in the form of two SEA AXE Class 100ft offshore patrol boats at a cost of $13.2 million USD will be made possible through the CABEI loan agreement. This will allow us to extend our patrols to the 200 mile limit of our exclusive economic zone. The construction of the maintenance workshop and the multipurpose building at the Coast Guard Headquarters compound that we spoke about last year is currently underway and will conclude in April 2016. This facility will provide much needed space for accommodation, office spaces, stores and a workshop for the maintenance and repairs of boats. Plans are also in place to construct a marina at the headquarters facility for the safe berthing, launching and recovery of small boats as well as berthing for one of the sea axe off shore patrol boats. Lastly but perhaps most importantly the Coast Guard will be partnering with the Belize Defense Force in the construction and manning of the joint services Sarstoon Forward Operating Base which will commence with ground breaking in two weeks’ time on December 9th. The amendment of the Coast Guard Act and Regulations are in its final stages and are expected to be passed into law and entered into force by the end of this year. This will strengthen the legality of the Coast Guard command and operations as well as reinforce its disciplinary code.”
Under the Ministry of National Security, falls the Belize Defense Force, the Belize Police Department and the Belize Coast Guard.