Operations at the Grenada Coast Guard have been enhanced with the provision of two new safe boats and a maritime support package by the Government of the United States valued at US$2m.
The keys for the boats were presented last week Friday at the Coast Guard Base in True Blue, St. George’s by the United States Ambassador to Grenada, Larry Palmer to Prime Minister Tillman Thomas who then handed them over to Commissioner of Police, Wilan Thompson.
The commissioning of the two boats that are to be used in the fight against the illegal drug trade is part of the United States Secure Seas Programme.
Ambassador Palmer said Grenada is among one of the first countries of the Eastern Caribbean to receive the interceptive vessels.
He indicated that the Grenada Coast Guard is an important partner in protecting the island and the region from illicit narcotics trafficking and other threats to the maritime borders.
The American Ambassador spoke about the partnership that now exists between St. George’s and Washington in the fight against illegal conducts.
He said the National Security Ministry along with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) work closely with the United States Law Enforcement Agency.
Ambassador Palmer said the interceptive boats and the communications systems will provide Grenada with the distinct aid in detecting, tracking and pursuing suspects, and would facilitate operational effectiveness and efficiency between Grenada and the United States.
He added that the maritime package is only part of the long-term US Government commitment to support Grenada’s ongoing capacity to increase the national security.
Prime Minister Thomas who was elated over the gift noted that since assuming the leadership position of the country and in his capacity as Minister of National Security, he has been concerned about the country’s maritime security.
He recognised that the country has many small bays and inlets that pose a significant danger to the peace and stability of the State.
The Grenadian Leader said it is these coves and inlets that are used by persons with criminal intent to hide and evade law enforcement personnel.
He pointed out that the provision of the two interceptive boats would significantly add to Grenada’s ability to confront drug trafficking and other criminal activities in the local waters.
“This would hopefully lead to a decrease of the availability of drugs in our country and halt the use of our island as a transportation point for cocaine and other drugs,” he said.
The Prime Minister indicated that law enforcement is pivotal to the development “of our democracy” and to the maintenance of the peace and stability of the country.