Bahamas, Dominican Republic Discuss Poaching
NASSAU, The Bahamas — The Government of The Bahamas will engage the Government of the Dominican Republic on the diplomatic front to address the “long- standing concerns” that exist with Dominican nationals poaching The Bahamas’ marine resources, Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard J. Nottage said.
“The livelihood of our people and a significant part of our economy are tied to our marine resources,” Dr. Nottage said. “The poaching of our marine resources has been a matter of much concern for many years.”
Dr. Nottage said while the Government attempts to resolve the situation on the diplomatic front, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force will be outfitted with the assets necessary for the Force to carry out its mandate.
“The Defence Force plays a pivotal role in protecting our marine resources from poachers and thus the provision of the requisite resources of equipment and trained manpower is essential,” Dr. Nottage said.
“This government will not waver in ensuring that the necessary resources are provided for them to effectively carry out their responsibilities,” Dr. Nottage added.
The National Security Minister said the reactivation of the Heads of Law Enforcement Agencies (HONLEA) grouping should have a major impact on poaching, illegal immigration and the illegal trafficking of arms and drugs through The Bahamas.
“While the Defence Force plays a major role in securing our borders, this responsibility is shared with other law enforcement agencies,” Dr. Nottage said. “A major reason for this Government re-activating regular joint meetings of the Heads of Law Enforcement Agencies is to foster a closer collaboration and the sharing of intelligence and assets among the Police Force, the Defence Force, Immigration Department, Customs Department, the Port Department and Her Majesty’s Prison.
“For example, the Police Force Marine Support Services Branch has a significant number of assets (namely vessels) for use in operations close to our coastlines and there are plans to utilise them in joint operations between the Police and Defence Forces in securing our borders.”
Dr. Nottage said the Government will implement a comprehensive plan to control the country’s borders and stem the flow of illegal immigration, illicit drugs and illegal weapons through an “integrated mix of increased staffing, more robust enforcement, greater investment in detection technology and infrastructure, and enhanced coordination between our law enforcement agencies.”
“I wish to take this opportunity to thank the dedicated and brave men and women of our law enforcement agencies who, each day, and often at great risk, perform the task of protecting our borders. As a country, we owe them a depth of gratitude,” Dr. Nottage added.
By Matt Maura
Bahamas Information Services