THE TRINIDAD and Tobago Coast Guard is expecting naval assets which would enhance its scope of operations.
This was according to Ag Commanding Officer Capt Hayden Pritchard who addressed the audience as well as the sailors under his command during 52nd anniversary celebrations of the Coast Guard at Coast Guard’s headquarters at Staubles Bay, Chaguaramas on Wednesday.
Capt Pritchard said the Coast Guard’s role had changed and had become even more significant within Trinidad and Tobago’s national security arsenal as, “the global and transnational security dimension driven by geopolitical and socioeconomic realities and the resulting phenomena of illegal human and narco-trafficking, money laundering, illegal migration and deportation, radicalisation and terrorism, and the application of technology to criminal enterprise, have all informed the need for a period of significant strategic, operational and administrative defence and security transformation.”
He continued, “domestically, the realities of youth delinquency, militancy and radicalisation, increasing organisation and networking of criminal elements, challenges to governance and rule of law as well as economic, environmental and health issues, have all significantly increased the complexity of the defence and security landscape by adding to the traditional transnational challenges.”
He added, “it can be argued that the TTCG has not had the level of strategic focus that is consistent with its evident criticality to the sustainability of this Small Island Developing State.” He explained that, “the last new principal assets (vessels greater than 40 metres) were procured some 34 years ago and when taken in the context of the complex and challenging national security landscape, there is thus an intensification of the urgent need for a new focus and commitment to this noble and priceless organisation from those whose actions can either hinder its progress or facilitate its success.”
He said however with the new assets, “which should begin arriving in early 2015 will introduce a host of opportunities as well as new threats. Accordingly, significant preparation is taking place to ensure seamless assimilation as operational tempo increases and TTCG life as a whole changes. Key elements of this are logistics and maintenance capacity and excellence, superior manpower planning as well as a more robust wellness system.”
While beaming over their soon-to-be-acquired assets Capt Pritchard added that, “I want to assure you that despite the glimpse into the future the Coast Guard has not been standing still as I am happy to report that there have been some achievements worthy of note this past year.”
He said “on the administrative front we have been able to welcome 79 recruits, five special duty officers, six special service officers and ten general list officer candidates. We look forward to the receipt of another batch of recruits as well as the entry of another ten general list officer candidates before the end of the year.”
He added, “in our interaction with civil society we continue our commitment to support schools, churches, community groups, youth development agencies and other organisations committed to building our society. In that regard we have made significant progress towards the completion of the Coast Guard Museum which should be ready in early 2015.”
He further stated an, “‘M’ fisheries project continues to progress. This project is a collaboration between the TTCG and UWI that provides low-cost communication to fishermen and allows them to be located in emergency. A strategic partnership with UTT is currently being explored. In this partnership the Coast Guard’s contribution will include provision of sea going platforms for UTT maritime students, while UTT will enhance TTCG training and development capacity in targeted areas as well as provide facilities such as simulator training.”