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Home Forms & Submissions e-Edition Search form Search Main menu Home News Business Sports Columns Contact Us Members of the Barbados Coast Guard salute Prime Minister, Mia Amor Mottley during the march past.

Keep it up! Mon, 02/25/2019 – 1:04am Coast Guard Officers warned to ‘retain high readiness to respond to threats By:  Marsha Gittens The Barbados Coast Guard has effectively prevented over $700 million of illegal drugs from hitting the streets of Barbados. However, this is but one challenge that organisation faces.

“New challenges have emerged since the mid-1980s, the most threatening of which has perhaps been a steady escalation of illicit trafficking, primarily of illegal drugs and small arms and light weapons through our waters.”

Commanding Officer of the coast guard, Commander Mark Peterson made this disclosure while adding that “asymmetric threats, such as those from the narcotics trade, piracy, and illegal fishing, are increasing … and the modern Coast Guard needs to retain high readiness to effectively respond to these threats”.

His comments came as he spoke yesterday at that organisation’s 40th anniversary Church Service held at the Whitepark Wesleyan Holiness Church.

Highlighting some of the Coast Guard’s accomplishments, he told the gathering, which included Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, that since its “modernisation in 2007, with the move from HMBS Willoughby Fort to HMBS Pelican, supplemented with expanded seagoing capabilities and manpower, the Barbados Coast Guard has been involved in 239 successful counter-narcotics operations, which have netted approximately 30 000 lbs of marijuana and 425kg of cocaine with a combined estimated street value of over $700 million Barbados dollars”.

He added, “We have also conducted over 400 deliberate board-and-search operations at sea. In preventing and deterring the influx of these drugs and any other illicit items, the Barbados Coast Guard plays an important role in protecting not only the present social and economic environment, but preserving our most precious asset: the youth of this nation.”

Peterson further shared that the organisation has “conducted 476 successful search-and-rescue missions, 11 medical evacuations of injured marines from vessels at sea and ten regional humanitarian assistance and disaster response missions in support of the Regional Security System.” He noted they have accomplished the “tasks with less than adequate maritime resources, non-existent aeronautical support and significantly more responsibilities than it had 40 years ago”.

In light of the demand on the guard, he called on fellow colleagues “not to rest on your laurels as the future security environment will continue to demand that we train, equip and re-equip to remain current and effective to respond to a dynamic and continuously evolving operating environment.” (MG)

LINK ORIGINAL: Barbados Advocate

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