Sunday, August 26, 2012

Secure Seas Interceptor Vessels

Remarks by
Ambassador Larry L. Palmer
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
August 20, 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am truly delighted to be in your beautiful country.  Thank you all for making me feel so very welcome here today.  This is my second visit to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and look forward to many more enjoyable and productive visits.  It is truly a pleasure to be here today for the commissioning of these two new interceptor vessels which are part of the United States' "Secure Seas" program.
I am very proud to be able to stand here, with all of you, as the United States of America and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines join together as part of a shared security partnership to addres the transnational security challenges that we all face.
This partnership is understood by the cooperative working relationship between the Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, and especially its Coast Guard, and the United States military and law enforcement agencies.  You all have been strong partners and taken an aggresive stance to keep this region safe from illicit narcotics trafficking and other threats to the maritime borders of our shared region.
I am pleased to officially present to these two fine 33-foot Defender Class SAFE interceptor vessels and other equipment worth over 1.5 million U.S. dollars.  This equipment includes a robust communications system; training and technical support; a heavy duty pick-up truck; and a period of maintenance, repair and spare parts to help develop a domestic capacity to maintain these maritime assets.  The interceptor boats and the installed communications systems will provide Saint Vincent and the Grenadines with a distinct edge in detecting, tracking and pursuing suspects, and will facilitate operational efficiency between nations.
This maritime support package is only part of the long-term United States commitment to support your ongoing capacity building efforts to increase the country's national security.  Since the launch of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative in 2009, the United States has committed more than 2 million U.S. dollars in direct bilateral assistance to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to reduce illicit trafficking and increase public safety.  This included construction of a new Coast Guard base on Canouan Island, which when completed, will strengthen your maritime law enforcement and search and rescue capabilities in this remote area.
I admit that I am most proud that our partnership with Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is much broader than security.  Our work together benefits both our nations and our shared Caribbean region as we strive shoulder to shoulder to better the lives of our citizens in the face of the innumerable challenges of today.  Together, we are stronger and more resolute than we would be alone.  As the United States Ambassador to your great country, I look forward to deepening this cooperative relationship.
May God bless you all, may God bless Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and may God bless the United States of America.
Thank you.