On Thursday, November 13, 2014, the U.S. Interdiction Coordinator (USIC) and The Interdiction Committee (TIC) traveled to New Providence to present the 2013 USIC Award in the Joint Operations category to Operation Bahamas, Turks and Caicos (OPBAT). OPBAT is the first-ever recipient of the prestigious award in this category. The annual USIC awards recognize significant contributions to the continuing effort to counter the increasing international and asymmetric threat posed by the trafficking of narcotics and other illicit substances. Senior White House official Marilyn Quagliotti, Deputy Director of Supply Reduction in the Office of National Drug Control Policy, presented the award noting “the sustained dedication, motivation and superior performance of OPBAT personnel have directly contributed to disrupting the conveyance of illicit narcotics and denying a significant percentage of the critical stream of revenue used to support transitional criminal organizations, insurgencies and terrorism.”
Award recipients from each OPBAT partner agency received a framed citation, and included: Jesse Wozniak, Deputy Director, Southeast Region, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP); Commander (CDR) Scott Phy, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Air Station Clearwater Operations Officer; CDR Mark Driver, USCG OPBAT Director; Larry Covington, Law Enforcement Advisor for Caribbean Overseas Territories & Bermuda, including Turks and Caicos; Commodore Roderick Bowe, Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) Commander; Adolphus Wright, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA); Commissioner Ellison Greenslade, Royal Bahamas Police Force and Ambassador William Brownfield, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), Department of State.
In addition, agency representatives involved in the day-to-day operations of OPBAT were presented commemorative coin awards, and included: Kevin Brady, U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Matt Furlong, USCG Air Station Clearwater; Jason Szczurowski, USCG OPBAT; Pascal Bacchus, Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force; Sr. Lt. Ricardo Berry, RBDF, Danny Escobar, DEA Nassau Country Attaché; Chief Superintendent Samuel Butler, RBPF and Kristin Gilmore, INL, U.S. Embassy Nassau.
Following the award ceremony, members of TIC met for a roundtable discussion with senior Bahamian and Turks and Caicos government and law enforcement officials about drug trafficking trends and interdiction efforts in the Caribbean. The Interdiction Committee supports the U.S. President’s National Drug Control Strategy. It develops, in coordination with the U.S. Interdiction Coordinator, interagency recommendations for integrating detection, monitoring, and law enforcement with interdiction efforts to more effectively disrupt illicit drug trafficking organizations.
Among the U.S. senior officials on hand for the discussion were Admiral Paul Zukunft, TIC Chairman and Coast Guard Commandant, Deputy Director Marilyn Quagliotti, Office of National Drug Control Policy, Ambassador William Brownfield, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Lisa Johnson. Senior-level representatives from the Commonwealth of The Bahamas included Minister of National Security, The Hon. Dr. Bernard Nottage, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, The Hon. Fred Mitchell, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, The Hon. Allyson Maynard-Gibson, Commodore Roderick Bowe, Royal Bahamas Defence Force and Commissioner Ellison Greenslade of the Royal Bahamas Police Force.