(DNO) – It is expected that Dominica’s border security will be improved by a near US$1million investment by the United States of America.
Recently, work on one of two vessels for Dominica was completed and handed over to the Dominica Marine Unit’s whilst the other is said to be completed and presented in the coming weeks.
The two nearshore intercept vessels, which form part of the US$800,000 modernization initiative, are expected to upgrade the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force’s fleet.
Larry Socha, Public Affairs Officer at the U.S Embassy in Bridgetown Barbados with responsibility for Dominica, told a small handing ceremony on February 19, that these vessels will strengthen Dominica’s ability to conduct maritime patrols and protect its coastal waters.
“What we’re here today to mark is an investment in the security of Dominica by the United States of America. This month, February 1st, we completed the sea trials of the first of two near-shore intercept vessels that were originally donated by the United States in 2012 and now have received an $800,000 upgrade by something called the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI). It’s a U.S State Department program and what it does is it invests in the security in countries like Dominica and here we have nearly a one million dollar investment,” he stated.
Socha further made known that the SAFE Boat Mid-Life Upgrade included a complete vessel overhaul, new engines, and a spare parts package to ensure continued operability.
He added that as part of the U.S. Embassy’s commitment to regional security cooperation in the Eastern Caribbean, further projects such as this will be continued in Dominica.
The Technical Assistance Field Team (TAFT) has been on island for three months working on these vessels which Inspector John Carbon, Commander of the Coast Guard expressed gratitude to the United States government for its generosity with the renovation of the vessels.
“We must say that it has done us very well and thanks to the US government for assisting us and we will continue to work collaboratively with them. We thank them very much for this because we know that these vessels are very expensive even to maintain and throughout the lifetime of these vessels the United States government they have been 100 percent in terms of maintenance for these vessels so for this we are grateful.”
Also conveying his thanks, Acting Police Commissioner of the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force, Lincoln Corbette said, “These vessels have contributed significantly in the policing of our maritime borders, search and rescue missions, more so during Tropical Storm Erika and Hurricane Maria.
Sincere appreciation must be extended to the engineering team of the Dominica Marine Unit and CBSI TAFT for ensuring that the vessels were well maintained. We are very grateful for the support of the United States government over the years and look forward to our continued partnership.”
The United States originally provided the two SAFE boats to Dominica as part of the CBSI FMF grant in 2012. Following the current efforts in Dominica, the SAFE technicians will travel to St. Kitts & Nevis and St. Vincent & the Grenadines to conduct similar upgrades throughout 2021.
It is part of the U.S. Embassy’s U.S.-Caribbean Strategy, which focuses on cooperation in the areas of security, health, energy, education, economic prosperity, and diplomacy.