Belize’s central location makes it vulnerable to transnational organized crime. Today, the US Embassy donated equipment to the Belize Coast Guard and the Belize Defence Force that will be used in the fight against such organized crime. At today’ handing over ceremony Charge d’Affaires Adrienne Galanek spoke of the donation.
Adrienne Galanek – Charge d’Affaires US Embassy
“The equipment we are handing over-represents an investment that will yield long-term citizen security progress in the region and will enable Belize to address the illicit trafficking of humans, weapons, drugs, and merchandise as well as the transnational threats of terrorism. US Southern Command’s Counter Narcotics Program provided this equipment valued at $432,000 U.S. dollars. The equipment is designed to support Belize’s role in regional security network of land and maritime forces. South Com’s programs enhance existing capabilities and establish new capabilities in a fight to counter the activities of transnational criminal organizations. The Counter Narcotics Program provides partner nations with equipment such as high-speed boats and land vehicles as well as training to complement their capabilities and to keep the equipment functional ensuring it is indeed sustainable. All of this donated equipment comes with training packages both here in Belize and in our training schools back in the United States.”
Love News spoke with Rear Admiral John Borland, Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard, about the new equipment.
Rear Admiral John Borland – Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard
“The Coast Guard fleet is now kind of aging and we were in need of some replacements. We got several natures of equipment today, we got the F-250 pickup trucks which will be used to launch and recover the small boats the very small boats but those same pickup trucks will be used to launch the Coast Guard Special Operations group. As you know there are many areas of the country that are more readily accessible by road along the coast for the coastal operations that we do instead of going all the way around in one of the boats. So those are the trucks the F250 trucks. We also got the trailers, we will trailer those same small boats. One of the key components that we got today is what we call an oil-water separator and that is to ensure that fuel that we put in those boats, which use very technology driven engines, is very clean and efficient. Inevitably the fuel here gets contaminated with water and other contaminants and that has to be separated from the engines to run smoothly and efficiently and to last longer of course. We also got several other items such as body armor, body armor is what people refer to as bulletproof vest, Kevlar helmets which is like body armor on your heads so it’s to protect your heads in the event of a firefight or even an accident it protects you in. We also got some boarding equipment, we refer to the belts that we use as utility belts or duty belts and they have all the pouches for your magazines, your handcuff, your pepper spray, your batons and so on so yes it keeps the forces professional and the equipment really ads to their confidence.”
Love News also spoke with Brigadier General Steven Ortega, Commander of the Belize Defence Force (BDF) about the equipment donated to the BDF.
Brigadier General Steven Ortega – Commander of the BDF
“The donation is very timely for the BDF for getting better pieces for counternarcotics cameras, recorders other pieces for special boat units.”
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of National Security, Felix Enriquez, expressed the government’s appreciation for the donation.”
Rt. Lt. Felix Enriquez – CEO of the Ministry of National Security
“This donation to the coast guard is very much appreciated, very timely thank you very much. Also, the Belize Defense Force Mary time boat unit who also has an ailing fleet and their constant patrolling of our rivers and their constant counter-narcotic efforts as well. The surveillance equipment that was receiving the engineering equipment for light engineers who are constantly working and who worked along with the Louisiana National Guard to complete our much-appreciated state of the art gate for the Belize Defense Force Price Barracks main entrance. All these efforts have been long overdue, we have been trying to find the fiscal space to get everything that the Belize Defense Force and the Belize Coast Guard needs and whenever we get donations such as this one it is very timely and very much appreciated.”
The donation is valued at four hundred and thirty-two thousand US dollars.