HONOURABLE ROOSEVELT SKERRIT
PRIME MINISTER OF
THE COMMONWEALTH OF DOMINICA
On the Occasion of the
Ground Breaking ceremony for the
New Coast Guard Facility at Bell Hall and
Commissioning of Interception “P.B. Lugay” & “P.B. Royer”
Thursday, 31st May, 2012
Among the primary responsibilities of any Government, is that of ensuring the safety and security of the citizens of the state and of the communities in which they live. There are many hazards that can threaten this safety and security; some of these are natural and often are readily identifiable. Others are induced by the activities of man; the latter are usually subtle, insidious and less readily identifiable than the former.
The Office of Disaster Management of the Ministry of National Security is currently engaging citizens in the observance of “Hazard Week”. The week is being spent by focusing on actions that both Government and citizens should take to mitigate identifiable hazards likely to have devastating effects on life and property, especially during the hurricane season. It is my hope that everyone has heeded the call and is taking appropriate actions to minimize the effects of these hazards in the event our Country lies in the path of the destructive forces of wind and excessive rain.
This morning, ladies and gentlemen, we meet here in Bell Hall, to break ground for the construction of a new coast guard facility and the commissioning of two interception vessels, the “P .B. Lugay” and the “P.B. Royer”. These assets are being constructed and commissioned in order to add to our arsenal for responding to the security challenges posed principally by man. In today’s world, technology and human ingenuity have made it possible for the resolution of conflict within states and between states, and the conduct of various kinds of criminal activity, to flout established norms and to delve into activities that the normal law abiding citizen would regard as unbelievable.
As a small, open and vulnerable state, it behooves us to take every measure possible to effectively combat the forces that would seek through devious and diabolical means, to use our waters and the state of Dominica for carrying out their dastardly acts.
Ladies and Gentlemen, based on the long standing friendship between Dominica and the United States of America and in a spirit of cooperation aimed at eradicating the movement of weapons of mass destruction in our hemisphere and throughout the globe, it is my pleasure to welcome to Dominica, His Excellency Larry Leon Palmer, the Ambassador of the United States to Dominica. Mr. Ambassador, as we welcome you, I wish to express the hope that your stint of service will be characterized by a further deepening and strengthening of the relations between our two states in the advancement of our mutual interests.
It is also my privilege to extend a warm Dominican welcome to Major General John M. Croley, the Deputy Commander of U. S. Marine Corps Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia, and Commander of U. S. Marine Corps Forces South in Miami Florida.
Major Croley, I am informed that to date, you have had a distinguished career in the U. S. Marine Corps, spanning a period of over thirty five years during which you served in Kuwait and Iraq. Your apparent expertise as both an air combat and marine tactician, in our view, make you eminently qualified to be a prime actor in advancing the Interdiction Principles for the Proliferation Security Initiative under which today’s ceremony is being held.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Proliferation Security Initiative seeks to establish a more coordinated and effective basis through which to impede and stop shipments of weapons of mass destruction, delivery systems, and related materials flowing to and from states and non state actors. This initiative is consistent with the norms of national legal authorities and with relevant international law and frameworks, including the UN Security Council.
The commissioning this morning of two interception vessels, the “P.B. Lugay” and the “P. B. Royer”, brings to seven, the number of interdiction vessels at our disposal. I would not be disclosing any National Security matter to signal to the would be criminal elements, that these vessels are equipped with advanced and state of the art navigation and tracking equipment and that moreover, they are really sea planes disguised as boats. So those who are bent on mischief are forewarned that they may be able to run, but they will not be able to hide from the forces of law and order operating on the seas. We will catch up with you and subject you to the full force of the law.
Our government is grateful to the United States for the gift of these two modern interdiction vessels; the addition of these assets to our marine response and interdiction capabilities, not only symbolizes one aspect of our response in pursuing the objectives of the Proliferation Security Initiative, but also further cements the bonds of our enduring friendship.
Government also wishes to place on record, our appreciation for the training provided to twenty five of our police and customs officers in operating and maintaining these two vessels and in other advanced techniques of interdiction on sea, land and air.
The ground breaking for construction of a new coast guard facility here in Bell Hall, is further evidence of Government’s determination to seal and secure our borders against the transit or entry of harmful and illicit substances and of weapons of mass destruction. In so doing, we are taking to another level, the combat against crime and criminal activity.
Today`s ceremony, and the progress in the fight against crime it promises, complements ongoing Town Hall meetings in the communities throughout Dominica aimed at raising community awareness on matters of crime and criminal behavior. This effort is being led by the Attorney General, the Police Commissioner and community leaders. I commend them for this effort.
I am confident that whichever of the local firms wins the bid for constructing the new facility, will do a job that will make us all proud and particularly the people of Portsmouth and the north.
As I conclude, I ask the hard working and committed police and customs officers who we rely on to ensure the safety of our borders, to accept the thanks and appreciation of Government and of the people of Dominica for their tireless and often dangerous work.
Ladies and gentlemen, may God bless our efforts at implementing the Principles for the proliferation Security Initiative and may he bless our beloved Dominica.