The US Embassy in Nassau yesterday donated six Mercury Verado 350 horsepower boat engines to the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) and the Bahamas Customs Department’s Marine Unit.
Four of the engines, for the RBPF Marine Unit, were delivered yesterday, and the remaining two will be delivered to the Customs Marine Unit in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
The engines are valued at over $168,000.
During a ceremony at the Police Training College, Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle said the engines allow the boat – an Apostle marine interceptor – to travel from New Providence to Andros in 25 minutes and to Inagua in four hours.
The boat will be stationed in Grand Bahama.
“The Bahamas’ proximity to the United States and the sheer extent of its area guarantees it will be a [place for] drug transshipment and other criminal activities for the foreseeable future,” Rolle said.
“The Bahamas is expected to continue its strong commitment to bilateral counter-narcotics efforts, but because of our relatively small budgetary resources, we will continue depend upon significant United States assistance.
“We are assembled here today to receive a new set of high-performance engines to replace the used ones. Today’s presentations of these engines show the depth and level of commitment of the Royal Bahamas Police Force as we seek to stamp out illicit dug trafficking activities in and throughout our borders.
“With the commissioning of these new engines, we are able to add another Apostle marine interceptor vessel to our marine fleet. This will go a long way in assisting with the interdiction of drug traffickers as they attempt to enter and navigate Bahamian waters and to perform rescue operations as necessary.”
Garret Wilkerson, director of international narcotics and law enforcement affairs at the US Embassy, said yesterday that cooperation between The Bahamas and the US is essential for the well-being of both nations.
“It’s in times like these when friendship is more important than ever,” he said.
“And indeed, The Bahamas is a neighbor and a very longtime friend.
“So, we hope that these engines will help to get this big boat back out on the water, working to thwart crime and help keep safe the people of both of our nations.”
Wilkerson added, “The United States looks forward to continuing to support the important law enforcement cooperation that is so vital to both The Bahamas and the United States.”
Chief Superintendent Prince Charlton, officer in charge of the marine division, highlighted the new engines as a means to improve efficiency in search and rescue operations in the northern Bahamas.
“In the event that the officers have to get from Grand Bahama to Bimini or Abaco, they will get there much faster and much safer,” he said.
“…So it will save time getting to scenes, especially in cases where…there is a situation of search and rescue.
“…Time is very crucial and speed is very crucial to those officers.”
Charlton added that the engines are more efficient and will help to save on fuel costs.