By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE United States government donated 20 Ford Police Interceptor hybrid SUVs worth $1.1m to the Royal Bahamas Police Force yesterday.
The Interceptors will be used in Nassau, Grand Bahama, and the Abaco islands.
The SUVs will also replenish part of the fleet that was lost during Hurricane Dorian.
According to the US Embassy, the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) provided the funding for the donation after Hurricane Dorian destroyed approximately 100 RBPF vehicles on Grand Bahama and Abaco.
Speaking on behalf of the American government at the handing over ceremony yesterday, US Chargé d’Affaires Usha Pitts noted that “these Ford Interceptors are a wonderful, small example of the friendship between the United States and The Bahamas.”
National Security Minister Marvin Dames thanked the US for their donation stating that “we can’t do it alone. Through partnerships we can do amazing things, and we’re doing it.”
Mrs Pitts also announced she ordered an Interceptor for Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle.
The US Embassy and the RBPF persisted to finalize the million-dollar donation which was said to be two years in the making
“It’s one thing to hand out cash; it’s another thing to have the bureaucratic fortitude to stick with a project and see it through to the end,” the Chargé d’Affaires noted.
Mr Rolle explained that the pandemic impacted the manufactures.
“Ford was mandated to make ventilators and the president ordered that Ford discontinued manufacturing vehicles and concentrate on ventilators for the hospitals.”
In a press release the US Embassy explained: “These Interceptors — valued at just over $1.1m — expand on another recent donation of six police vehicles valued at approximately $300,000 dollars that were delivered in February, bringing the value of vehicle donations from the U.S. Embassy in 2021 to about $1.4m. The 20 vehicles delivered today are fuel-efficient hybrid SUVs, helping to reduce fuel costs and sustain increased police patrols in areas with high crime.
“These latest vehicle donations exemplify the strong partnership between the United States and The Bahamas. It also compliments the United States’ ongoing support for citizen and border security in the archipelago, following a donation in December, 2020 of six Mercury Verado boat engines valued at over $168,000 dollars to the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) Marine Support Services Unit and Bahamas Customs Marine Unit.”