BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Mar. 25, 2021– The United States Embassy today donated $400,000 worth of maritime and tactical equipment to the Belize Coast Guard. The donation included six outboard engines, navigational equipment, maintenance tools, and fifteen sets of night vision goggles.
A brief ceremony was held at the Coast Guard base, where Minister Hon. Florencio Marin received the donation on behalf of the Belize Coast Guard. Also present at the handing-over were Minister of State, Hon. Oscar Mira, and Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Keith Gilges from the US Embassy.
During a short interview, Minister Marin said, “Today is a lucky day for the Coast Guard and for Belize by extension, because through the generosity of the United States government, we now have six new outboard motor engines to assist the Coast Guard. We also have some night vision goggles that are going to expand the operational capability of the Coast Guard from daytime as well to nighttime. So, this will make our Coast Guard much more effective in their work.”
Recently a band of pirates from Belize was captured in a sting operation coordinated by Honduran police. These men are believed to be the same individuals who have been wreaking havoc on the seas of Belize recently. The Coast Guard reportedly cooperated with the authorities of that country to ensure the detention of the six men.
US Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Keith Gilges shared that the US considers the contribution of the equipment a mutually beneficial investment. “It’s not a donation; it’s an investment,” Gilges shared.
“A Belize that is stable, prosperous, has control of its borders, has control of its seas, is good for Belize. It’s also good for the US. And so, when we’re cooperating with the Ministry and with the Coast Guard and the Belize Defence Force, it’s about investing in their capabilities, Belize — that’s good for both countries. So this handover that we’ve done today of the motors and the night vision goggles improves Belize’s capacity to go against the same transnational criminal organizations that we’re battling,” Gilges said.