BDF ready to help police fight crime
THE BARBADOS DEFENCE FORCE (BDF) is ready to help in the fight against gun crime and the recent scourge of violence.
Chief of Staff Colonel Glyne Grannum gave a swift “absolutely” while speaking to the DAILY NATION after a service to mark the tenth anniversary of the commissioning of the Barbados Coast Guard’s HBMS Pelican base.
The service was held at Whitepark Wesleyan Holiness Tabernacle, Whitepark Road, The City, last Sunday.
“As far as our readiness to support the civil powers such as the Royal Barbados Police Force, Customs Department, as well as the Immigration service and beyond Barbados, the fellow member states in the Regional Security System (RSS), the Barbados Defence Force, inclusive of its Coast Guard, is absolutely ready,” he said.
While not revealing the numbers he had to deploy, Grannum said the “entire force” would be available to help protect the country in various capacities.
“I mean from persons who will be engaged meaningfully and robustly in interdicting threats, in the reconnaissance for threats and those in logistics capacities required to support and look after the engineering of vessels and vehicles. So the full width and depth of the Defence Force is ready,” he said.
“The numbers need not be an issue. Suffice to say, the entire force plays some role on an ongoing basis, so support to the civil power and the civil authority is nothing that is new to the Defence Force. Indeed, we have had service and successful operations from the time of our existence in the ’80s both in Barbados and beyond.”
He said the Coast Guard has not only assisted in protecting the country from illegal drugs through seizures, it has also protected maritime interests and fisheries, along with ensuring there was no unlawful or unregulated fishing.
The BDF chief said the Coast Guard also helped to protect sea eggs from poachers during the closed season and “make sure that seafarers can go safely on the seas. If they get into distress, the Coast Guard is responsible for finding and rescuing them and bringing them safely back to shore.”
He also credited his men and women with the ability to adapt across a wide spectrum of security threats, including humanitarian response in terms of disaster relief, as was currently the case in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
Personnel from the BDF are on the ground in St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, and the British Virgin Islands.
The soldiers are operating alongside the British, French and Dutch authorities as well as the RSS, which is working in conjunction with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency.
During the church service, general superintendent of the Wesleyan Holiness Church in the Caribbean, Reverend Dr Joel Cumberbatch, told the congregation that the destruction which hurricanes like Irma were leaving in their wake was a reminder of the vulnerability of small-island states. ( YB)