THE US Embassy in Nassau has donated nearly half a million dollars worth of equipment to support local efforts to bolster maritime security.
US Charg� d’Affaires John Dinkelman, Minister of National Security Bernard Nottage, his State Minister Keith Bell, Commodore of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Roderick Bowe and other senior US and Bahamian government officials participated in the handover ceremony at the RBDF Harbour Patrol Unit on East Bay Street.
Valued at $431,000, the donation was made possible by the US Embassy’s Office of Defence Co-operation (ODC) and the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM).
The equipment includes a top of the line 25-foot full cabin (Secure All-around Flotation Equipped) SAFE response vessel, a two-year supply of spare parts and a two-week training course for RBDF marines to enhance border security.
In his remarks, Charg� Dinkelman noted that the equipment will be used to enhance border security, better protect Bahamian citizens as well as the millions of tourists who visit the Bahamas on cruise ships each year.
“This donation is only the most recent of many examples of the continuing United States commitment to support and assist the Defence Force in their unwavering efforts to protect and defend the Bahamas,” Charg� Dinkelman said. “Despite difficult fiscal times, we intend to continue our investments in this great partnership for we cannot waiver in our resolve to confront and defeat the threats that affect both our nations.”
Since August of 2011, more than $1.1 million in military equipment and training has been provided to the RBDF through the United States Foreign Military Financing Programme.
In his address, Minister Nottage acknowledged the generosity of the US Embassy through the Foreign Military Financing Programme.
He said it stands as a major testament to the commitment and tremendous support of the United States government in the continued fight against transnational threats.
“The addition of this 25-foot full cabin response boat not only adds operational value to the sustainability of the Defence Force’s security efforts, but also ensures that the Defence Force maintains a competitive advantage within the Bahamas’ maritime domain.” Minister Nottage said.
“It is critical to note that the response boat will operate primarily within Nassau’s Harbour supplementing the Defence Force’s existing harbour patrol vessels and ensuring the safety and security of thousands of visitors and the economic viability of the Bahamas’ tourism product.”