The Coast Guard Unit of the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force received two new multi-mission interceptor vessels and accompanying towing trailers, a two year supply of repair parts and a 4×4 Ford F350 pick-up truck from the United States Government.

The new Ford F350 pick-up truck and PB-04 donated by the United States Government.

U.S. Ambassador His Excellency Larry L. Palmer attended a ceremony held at the Coast Guard Base in Bird Rock to hand over the equipment, and acknowledged a five-week training and technical support course that was provided under the Secure Seas Programme of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative.

Major J. Anthony Comrie, Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard Unit, told SKNIS how the vessels arrived in July of this year and already played a part in critical security operations. In fact, on September 1st, counter narcotics operation at sea conducted by members of the Coast Guard and Police Drug Unit saw the vessels being called into action.

Major Comrie also revealed that members of the rank successfully completed a training course on seamanship and system familiarization of the new vessels that are reportedly similar to boats used by the U.S. Coast Guard. The familiarization aspect of the course was facilitated by personnel from SAFE Boats International – an American-owned company which, according to its official website, “designs and builds highly reliable and extremely durable vessels that help keep military, law enforcement and fire professionals safe as they carry out their duties, protect citizens and work to save lives.”

Prime Minister Douglas (4th from right) and Ambassador Palmer (left of PM) were joined by senior government officials and security chiefs at the hand over ceremony.

The commanding officer of the Coast Guard Unit added that an additional donation of command control and communication equipment from the United States is due on island shortly.

Prime Minister Douglas (front) and Ambassador Palmer seated aboard PB-05 Oualie as it sails across the waters.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Palmer indicated that the U.S. Government remains committed to the security of the Caribbean Region in general and is pleased with the “partnership” it has with the twin-island Federation in particular.

“Since the launch of the CBSI in 2009, the U.S. has committed more than $2.4 million in direct bilateral assistance to St. Kitts and Nevis to reduce the scourge of illegal trafficking and to increase public safety,” the envoy said. “The interceptor boats and the communication equipment will provide St. Kitts and Nevis with a distinct edge in detecting, tracking and pursuing suspects and will facilitate operational efficiency between nations.”

Prime Minister Douglas boards PB-05 Oualie Bay while Ambassador Palmer and others look on.

In response, St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister, Dr. Denzil Douglas cited U.S. President Barack Obama’s declaration to leaders of the Region to seriously partner in promoting regional peace and security. The Prime Minister thanked the U.S. for its “steadfast commitment” to fulfilling this agenda.

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