Fewer people joining Defence Force
The number of people joining the Royal Bahamas Defence Force(RBDF)is declining despite recruitment exercises last year, Commodore Roderick Bowe said yesterday.
Speaking to the media on his first anniversary as commander of the RBDF, Bowe also revealed that the organization has let go many members suspected of engaging in unlawful activities or activities unbecoming of an RBDF member.
“There were some of our members who were known for making chronic bad decisions that showed the force in a negative light,”Bowe said.
“These persons have brought discredit to the service and have since severed their relationship with the force.”
Bowe said the RBDF is looking forward to its 48th entry of recruits in April.
The RBDF is also expected to take ownership of 11 vessels over the next six years and it will further decentralize its operations, said the commodore.
“For the number of craft that we are expecting and our continually expanding roles, there must be a continuous intake of enlisted persons and subsequent training of naval officers to be able to properly man, crew and outfit the various sections and resources of the force,”said Bowe.
“Our strategy of a decentralized, well trained and equipped force is no doubt the way forward.
“However, because of the very nature of our role, we are not at liberty to divulge the intricacies of our plan.”
Bowe also said the RBDF is committed to continuous training for staff members both locally and abroad.
“Educating and re-educating our personnel has also been one of the force’s focal points,”he said.
RBDF officers are taking advantage of training opportunities that have been made available from countries and jurisdictions such as the U.S., Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belize, Hawaii and Singapore, Bowe explained.
RBDF personnel and craft will be sent to several islands, including Grand Bahama and Ragged Island, in order to more easily police The Bahamas, the commodore confirmed.
“Works are also in progress to acquire property in Gun Point, Ragged Island and Grand Bahama towards the ultimate establishment of bases onthese islands,”Bowe said.
“Additionally there is ongoing development here in Coral Harbour and at HMBS Mathew Town.”
Bowe said the Ragged Island base would assist the RBDF with intercepting poaching vessels. He commended his officers for intercepting three Dominican poaching vessels last year, which were all confiscated by the government.
“Let me also state that the fines levied by the courts seem to be growing exponentially,”Bowe said.”This should serve as a stern warning and a deterrentto those who wish to seek to violate Bahamian laws at sea.”