US ‘Shark’ boats to aid drug fight

The Guyana Defence Force Coast Guard yesterday received three new Metal Shark Aluminum boats from the US Government valued at US$1.7M.

US Ambassador D. Brent Hardt said this represents part of a broader and more comprehensive regional security partnership through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI).

The keys to the three vessels, GDFS 1028, GDFS 1029 and GDFS 1030 were handed over by the ambassador to President Donald Ramotar at a simple ceremony yesterday at the Coast Guard Headquarters, Ruimveldt. The GDF Coast Guard is also expected to receive two more vessels.

US Ambassador D. Brent Hardt (left) hands over the keys of the three vessels to President Donald Ramotar, as Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Mark Phillips looks on.
US Ambassador D. Brent Hardt (left) hands over the keys of the three vessels to President Donald Ramotar, as Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Mark Phillips looks on.

The boats have a capacity for 6 seated persons, 12 maximum; are fitted with machine guns and have a maximum cruise speed of 50+ knots.

Hardt in his remarks said that the vessels, which are the first US-built boats that will be used by the Coast Guard, are equipped with state-of-the-art communications to ensure timely sharing of information and operational coordination.

One of the Metal Shark boats.
One of the Metal Shark boats.

“The handover of the Metal Shark vessels marks the beginning of a new chapter in Guyana-United States relations as we deepen our work together to combat organized crime, ensure freedom of commerce and navigation on inland waterways and most importantly, ensure the safety and security of the people of Guyana,” Hardt told the gathering.

Hardt added that the US and Guyanese military have already been conducting training in the operation and maintenance of the vessels. “Follow on training will be conducted by various US military teams to ensure that the Guyana Defence Force remains poised to respond to any crisis.”

The Ambassador noted that similar vessels are in service in Dominica, St. Kitts and other Caribbean countries and have helped interdict drug smuggling and he hopes that the acquisition of these vessels will boost Guyana’s ability to disrupt and dismantle illicit trafficking in its waters and reinforce regional efforts.

He said that transnational trafficking has emerged as a major threat to governance and security throughout the Caribbean, as the flow of drugs, arms and even people generates large profits for criminals.

President Ramotar said that “we are a poor country and we still have many needs that we have to fulfill but the need for security is as important as any other need.”

He also appealed to those who will be handling the equipment to do so with care as they play a vital role in tackling crimes that take place on Guyana’s waterways.

A GDF officer told Stabroek News that the boats will be stationed at the Coast Guard Headquarters for the moment. “When the time for deployment comes, the directive will come from the commanding officer who would receive prior instructions from the Chief of Staff,” the officer said.

Also in attendance were Crime Chief Seelall Persaud, Fire Chief Marlon Gentle, CANU Head James Singh and Commander Robert Novotny of the US military liaison office.

More in Local News

mibicuri murders

Cops to charge trio over Black Bush murders

Police are preparing to charge a farmer, his teenaged son and an employee with last week’s  brutal Black Bush triple murder.

default placeholder

Over 100 passport applications received from NY weekly

Over 100 passport applications are being received from New York alone on a weekly basis and this has placed pressure on the Central Immigration and Passport Office, Minister of Citizenship Winston Felix says.

default placeholder

Granger defends hiring former army officers for civilian posts

President David Granger “sees nothing wrong” with the appointment of retired or serving military officers to civilian posts and maintains that the appointments are being made based on competence.

David Outar

Co-worker charged with murdering Gafoor’s manager

A co-worker of murdered Gafoor’s manager Terry Lackhan was yesterday remanded to prison after being charged with killing him. In a city courtroom that was packed with Lackhan’s relatives and police, David Outar, 24, of 369 Foulis, East Coast Demerara, was not required to plead to the charge, which stated that on July 21, at Herstelling, East Bank Demerara, he murdered Lackhan during the course or furtherance of a robbery.

default placeholder

Woman freed of charges over Facebook death threat to President

Bibi Safoora Salim, the woman who allegedly made death threats to President David Granger on Facebook, was yesterday freed of the charges.

default placeholder

Gov’t to address nurse shortage – Health Minister

A shortage of nurses at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) has been confirmed by Public Health Minister, Dr. George Norton who told GINA that the government and his ministry are working towards solving the problem.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: