Defense Minister concludes tour of Coast Guard facilities

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Posted: Saturday, May 13, 2017. 10:40 a.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: On Thursday, May 11, Minister of Defense John Saldivar concluded his national tour of facilities operated by the Belize Coast Guard, the final leg of that tour being in the northern sector.

The tour began at Consejo Shores in Corozal, where the Coast Guard operates a Forward Operating Base out of a temporary facility owned by the Customs Department. That facility will soon be developed into a proper inter-agency Forward Operating Base involving the Belize Coast Guard, the Belize Defence Force (BDF), Customs Department and Immigration Department, providing law enforcement Security for the area of Consejo, Chetumal Bay and Corozal Bay extending to Sarteneja.

At Sarteneja, Saldivar visited a facility where Coast Guard personnel are currently accommodated by the Corozal Wild Life Sanctuary, one of the NGO’s with which the Belize Coast Guard partners. The organization is in the process of constructing a permanent facility that will also accommodate the Coast Guard, which will continue providing law enforcement support for their operations.

Saldivar and his team witnessed a patrol link-up between the Belize Coast Guard and the Mexican Navy who escorted them through the Zaragoza Channel (north of the Bacalar Chico Creek). The Minister, Belize Coast Guard Commander Admiral John Borland, Ministry of Defense CEO Lieutenant Felix Enriquez and Belize Coast Guard Operations Officer Lieutenant Armando Cobb accompanied the Mexican Navy aboard the lead vessel. (The Belize Coast Guard conducts regular monthly three-day joint-operations in that general area.)

The tour then headed south and stopped at the Boca Bacalar Chico entrance, which is the northernmost point of the Belizean land mass. The team inspected a location where the Belize Coast Guard intends to set up a permanent Patrol Base, and they visited the temporary facilities, which was formerly a part of Nova Shrimp Farm’s operations, and out of which the Coast Guard currently conducts foot patrols in the general area (covering a radius of approximately 12 miles) that once experienced rampant criminal activity, which is now significantly curbed.

They then visited Ambergris Caye, which was inaugurated three and a half years ago, in November 2013.

After spending the night there, they visited the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and then headed back to mainland at the Belize Coast Guard Headquarters in Belize City.

This concluded the national tour of Belize Coast Guard facilities, which started off earlier this year with a tour of the southern and central sectors.

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