Official remarks by U.S. Charge d’Affaires James Denver Herren
Today I am pleased and honored to mark this official presentation and handover of ballistics protective gear and other equipment to the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. This equipment is being transferred to the RBPF to protect the officers who participate in interdiction operations under OPBAT.
Every day, around the world a line is drawn between chaos and calm. Standing on that line are the men and women of law enforcement. People who have made a conscious decision to place their lives on the line to defend the calm, protect the innocent and enforce the law. This is a noble cause.
Here, Bahamian and U.S. law enforcement officials come together in this noble pursuit. However, they take it one step further. Instead of merely defending the calm or remaining on the line, they descend into the chaos to prevent crime, curb the flow of illegal firearms, and reduce the demand for illicit drugs. It takes a combined effort by a diverse group of stakeholders from both sides to achieve success against the criminal groups operating within and between our two countries.
There is no doubt that the criminal networks are transnational, operating between our two countries, putting all of our citizens and our security at risk. Arrests in The Bahamas remove criminals from your streets and from ours. For that reason, we are bound together as partners, and we want to ensure that our partners have the protective gear and equipment needed to stay safe and effective.
Those of you assembled here today know that the United States and The Bahamas enjoy a long-standing history of cooperation. And—as the handover of this equipment will attest—we are proud to continue that support.
It is our hope that this equipment will help protect valued officers and improve on the RBPF and OPBAT’s already solid track record of seizing illicit narcotics and breaking up criminal networks.
In 2017, OPBAT operations led to the seizure of 915 kilograms of cocaine, nearly 57,000 pounds of marijuana, and 15,580 marijuana plants, leading to the arrest of 148 drug traffickers.
These are tangible results, demonstrating the merits of our joint operations. Our combined efforts have reduced the flow of illegal drugs and increases public safety and security for both of our nations.
In this spirit, I would like to take a moment to recognize the Ministry of National Security; the Commissioner of Police Mr. Anthony Ferguson; the officers of the Drug Enforcement Unit—in particular Assistant Commissioner of Police Samuel Butler, Superintendent Carlton Adderley, and Superintendent Christopher Minus– for their dedication to the project.
The U.S. Mission to The Bahamas looks forward to continuing to strengthen the important relationship between our two nations.
I personally want to thank all of you for your service and I hope that this equipment, in some way helps each of you attain the goal of every law enforcement officer I have ever known. That is to make it home to your loved ones at the end of your shift.