The Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) is expected to have a $133 million overhaul over the next three years, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said.
Speaking at the commissioning of a coastal radar on Inagua last Wednesday, Dames said, “To ensure that the entire base at Inagua is brought up to standard and to complement this new technology, contracts were signed totaling $573,000 with three construction companies on the island for the rebuilding of new units.
“The new structures will include a sick bay, detention center and a mechanical building. The total proposed project capitalization and development, including the decentralization program over the next three budget cycles, is expected to cost approximately $133 million.”
The minister noted that The Bahamas’ proximity to the United States creates “opportunities for small arms, narcotics, human trafficking and money laundering”.
Dames said, “…Increasing threats meant decentralization of the defense force for the sustainment of security operations and humanitarian assistance.
“Decentralization of both the operation and administrative components of the defense force commenced in three phases in the northern, central and southern Bahamas for effective interdiction at strategic locations. All three phases are operating concurrently.”
He said the first phases included the acquisition of patrol crafts and the dredging of harbors.
Dames said the second phase will focus on the expansion and construction of new and existing bases.
“Specifically, focus will be given to the expansion of the Inagua base and the construction of a Ragged Island base, where most of the security threats originate,” the minister said.
“The third phase is the acquisition of detection and tracing technologies.”
Dames also said The Bahamas is “in the process of finalizing a $17 million contract with a vendor for the acquisition of short and medium range drones to assist with interdiction and surveillance efforts under a multi-agency drone program”.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis recently said that Cabinet has approved a proposal to implement an unmanned aerial system under the leadership of the RBDF.
The drone program would include immediate surveillance capabilities, as well as training in drones, the purchasing of drones and the development of a drone academy and workshop.
“This new capability will enhance national security and may be utilized by all of the uniformed branches to combat crime, illegal migration and other national security threats,” Minnis said.
The drone program is expected to be operational on New Providence this year.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice