By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
NATIONAL Security Minister Marvin Dames has dismissed claims that Royal Bahamas Defence Force officers tasked with operating a newly installed long-range radar do not have the necessary skills for the job.
He was responding to reports in a local tabloid that claimed the lack of training had made it possible for Haitian sloops carrying migrants to go undetected as they crossed into Bahamian waters.
The $2.1m radar was a gift from the United States and is regarded as a move to strengthen the country’s border defences, with $133m projected to be spent over the next three budget cycles in this regard.
“Why would you introduce something and not prepare people for it?” Mr Dames said yesterday. “It doesn’t make sense to me. A new radar was introduced. It was on the drawing board for some time and whenever you have something new, training is continuous so you must work to ensure that the persons who are operating it are fully acclimated and continue to receive the training to ensure that they are competent and capable of executing, but we would not have come this far if persons were not trained to operate a system. You just don’t implement something and say ‘okay lets start the training.’”
He continued: “It has to go hand in hand and we will continue to ensure as I said before previously that our approach is always to ensure that before we introduce anything that we have the requisite number of persons who are fully trained to execute.
“We will not be making the mistake that was often made in the past that you spend a significant amount of money on acquiring technology and would not have prepared persons for it.
“As you can see certainly within the RBPF, we’re in an era of training. We have never trained so many persons and we will continue to do that because we understand it is an important plank in our efforts to professionalise our law enforcement agencies.”