The Belize National Coast Guard received a huge donation today in the form of a facility, personnel and other equipment valued at almost three million US dollars. With this new facility, the Coast Guard will be able to conduct maintenance on vessels at any time and even treat Coast Guard officers at a medic center on site. The gifts are courtesy of the U.S. Southern Command and today U.S. Ambassador Carlos Moreno joined the B.D.F. to officially hand over the donation. News Five’s Andrea Polanco was on hand for the ribbon cutting:
Andrea Polanco, Reporting
A maintenance facility worth almost five million Belize dollars was officially handed over to the Belize Coast Guard. The multi-million dollar building is equipped with rooms for training and storage, as well as a much needed medic center. The facility and equipment valued just under a million Belize dollars are gifted by the US Government’s US Southern Command, through a project that started in 2014. Ambassador Carlos Moreno helped to cut the ribbon of the brand new building:
Carlos Moreno, US Ambassador to Belize
“This will simply lead to more progressive and safe facility for maintenance for the Coast Guard. Our relationship grows stronger every day. One of the key areas of our cooperation with Belize is defence and security, and in particular, enhancing citizen security. I am told that that this maintenance facility costs 2.23 million US dollars. It includes rooms for added storage, training, building space for the growing coast guard and a medical clinic. So this facility will enhance the Coast Guard’s ability to conduct maintenance around the clock, unimpeded by weather or other conditions. It will enable the Coast Guard to quickly repair, to maintain and sustain vital equipment used in protecting Belize’s shores and national security, particular from the threat of drugs and transnational criminal elements. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think the coast that is patrolled by Coast Guard is around three hundred miles or close to that. Belize is very vulnerable to nefarious activity on that sea shore and the beautiful reef. But the capacity of the Coast Guard, we are very happy to enhance that capacity. Along those lines, we are also handing over about a half million dollars’ worth of sustainment parts, maintenance equipment, and personnel protective gears; this include, spear engines, sub-assemblies for the Boston Whalers you see out there, communication and computer equipment.”
Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard Admiral John Borland says that the much needed donation will boost the Coast Guard’s efforts to fight transnational crime which will help with patrols and other Coast Guard operations. The facility can accommodate up to a hundred sailors and the maintenance equipment and space will be put to good use to service and the store Coast Guard assets:
Admiral John Borland
Admiral John Borland, Commandant, Belize Coast Guard
“It is only through partnerships like these that we can defeat the threats of illicit activity in the forms of drugs, weapons, human trafficking, money laundering, crime and violence and not forgetting the ever present threat of terrorism, which is not imminent, but remains real for us. We have kind of grown out of our shoes in personnel, where the infrastructure seems to be lagging behind to accommodate the man power. This brand new state of the art facility now takes care of some of those issues. The facility is built to accommodate up to a hundred sailors. It will also house the new Coast Guard conference facility and medic center, the Ambassador mentioned, which is a major plus for all of us, as you said the Coast Guard is not for the faint of heart and is filled with many risks, so we must have the ability to deal with at least first line response requirements here. It will also provide space for the fleet commander and his staff, the three-sector commanders, the fleet registry and station in Belize City out of which we will launch short range patrols and operations. In addition to this, it will provide storage area for equipment, clothing, and munitions. The of course, it will provide space and equipment needed to perform what it was primarily designed to do, the servicing, maintenance and repairs of Coast Guard assets.”
Andrea Polanco reporting for News Five.
Three other Coast Guard project funded by U.S. SOUTHCOM that are expected to get underway in the next few months are the Sector South Big Creek, a Coast Guard station in Punta Gorda and a Coast Guard marina to be constructed at the Coast Guard Headquarters.