August 24, 2012
PM Gonsalves happy with new Coastguard vessels

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has praised the capabilities of two interceptors the United States donated the local Coastguard on Monday.{{more}}

In addition to the two 33-foot Defender Class Interceptor boats, the Coastguard received one pick-up truck and one year’s supply of spare parts, valued at US$1.85 million (EC$4.995 million), compliments the United States’ Secure Seas programme.

“They are beautiful machines. … They each have three 300 [horse power] engines. You know that’s a lot of juice,” Gonsalves, who is also Minister of National Security, said on radio on Wednesday.

He reiterated that the vessels are important for drug interdiction and search and rescue, a point he also made at the ceremony on Monday.

“We have a number of fisherfolk and these assets will help us to cover a wider area more quickly,” he said.

Gonsalves said the boats can each hold 20 persons, in addition to their six-member crew.

“So they are substantial vessels. So I expect that the Coastguard will take good care of them,” he said.

“All this is part of strengthening our security, strengthening the way we can protect our people,” he said, as he described Secure Seas as an “important initiative”, adding “and [U.S.] President [Barack] Obama has delivered.”

Gonsalves further spoke of the assistance this country receives from Venezuela, Cuba, and Iran, and said “… wherever we get assistance from, you will hear the ideologues from the past, who are more like dinosaurs; they live in a different age, a different period and don’t quite understand the creative man has to use your own sovereignty and independence in your own interest and to have partnerships…” (KXC)