Prime Minister Owen Arthur (second from right) tours the site for the new Coast Guard Headquarters. Joining him (from left to right) Colonel Alvin Quintyne of the Barbados Defence Force; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence and Security, Captain Randolph Straughn; Minister of State, Prime Minister’s Office, Rev. Joseph Atherley and Project Manager, Barbados Coast Guard, Captain Philip Springer
Government has embarked on a 10-year plan that will upgrade the coast guard facility and improve the security and safety of the local marine environment.
This announcement came today from Prime Minister Owen Arthur, who has responsibility for defence and security. He was on a familiarisation tour of the new complex, which is being constructed at a cost of BDS$59.5m.
Mr. Arthur opined that with the modernised headquarters, it would be possible to offer greater protection to our shores.
“The greatest threat to the Barbadian people in today’s world comes from those who exploit the marine environment. I will not go into details about it but the threat has been considerable and has been growing. The need for this new facility with its expanded capabilities is not only because of the woeful state of the old Pierhead base but because of the threat to the marine environment from those who use it,” he remarked.
The Prime Minister added that the recent law of the sea tribunal settlement between Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago over maritime delimitations also warranted the overhaul.
“The government will also be putting in place very soon modern capabilities beyond what we have here to better protect and defend the Barbadian maritime territorial space. The matter that the law of the sea tribunal settled also imposes upon us a duty to be better able to police the Exclusive Economic Zone of Barbados and this facility will feature significantly in that matter,” Mr. Arthur stated.
Project Manager Captain Philip Springer said that the new coast guard naval base, situated at the Flour Mill site, Spring Garden, St. Michael, should be completed by the December 31 deadline.
Captain Springer revealed that it would serve as a hub for the Eastern Caribbean and would be able to berth the largest vessel in the region at its quayside.
The design plans include provisions for an administration building, accommodation for 300 officers, a repair workshop, an armoury, a provost facility for military officers, and operation and training quarters.