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King: RBDF can adjust to better respond to natural disasters

Acting Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) Commodore Dr. Raymond King indicated yesterday that improving the RDBF’s strategic positioning to respond to natural disasters could avoid some of the issues the defense force was criticized for in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.

“In many cases, it’s not the new ideas,” King said.

“It’s simply doing things differently. [F]rom my initial assessment, I realized that there [were] some deficiencies in our security posture. I’ve moved aggressively to address that issue.”

He added, “So, we’ve looked at that and there are a lot of lessons learned which will be employed as needed in the future in terms of any response to any natural disasters.”

King became acting commodore on October 15, after RBDF Commodore Tellis Bethel was sent on a three-month leave.

The decision to remove Bethel at this time has raised eyebrows among some observers given that the RBDF is instrumental in Hurricane Dorian relief efforts on Grand Bahama and Abaco, where security concerns on the ground have persisted.

However, King yesterday shrugged off criticisms that his appointment was ill-timed.

King noted that both Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis and Minister of National Security Marvin Dames have already explained why the government decided to send Bethel on leave.

“They’re responsible for the administration of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force,” King said.

“My task is the operational use. My focus is on the recovery, safety and security of our citizens and residents in the affected areas, and protecting our borders against transnational crime.”

He added, “The recovery aspect has to do with recovering any bodies that may have passed or deceased from the storm.

“Secondly, it’s the security and safety of the residents and we’ve prioritized those aspects to reduce the fear of crime. And thirdly, to ensure that our marines are properly staged.”

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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