Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Robert Copley at Interceptor Turnover Ceremony

Honorable Minister of Defense, Lieutenant General Ruben Paulino Sem,
Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Miguel Peña Acosta,
Members of the Dominican Armed Forces,
Members of the Press,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning.  I am honored to join you today as we celebrate the continued strong cooperation between the United States and Dominican Republic.  On this day, we are completing the last donation of a series of Boston Whaler vessels and John Deere tractors.  The government and people of the United States are happy to partner with you and contribute to the security of the Dominican Republic.  I am proud that we continue to build on this successful relationship.

The donation of this equipment comprises only a part of a much larger effort to assist in developing a shared capability to combat Transnational Organized Crime.  Along with twelve other boats, trucks, and support equipment, this program represents more than $12 million dollars of shared investment.   The money does not tell the whole story though, as the most important part of the program is without question the members of the Dominican Navy that put their lives on the line while putting this equipment to work toward our shared security.

These boats not only operate in the role of countering illicit narcotics trafficking, but also work in search and rescue missions, as well as other aspects of maritime law enforcement.  On these boats, the Dominican Navy works alongside various organizations that include:  the National Drug Control Directorate’s Tactical Reaction Unit, U.S. Coast Guard District 7, and Joint Interagency Task Force South to combat a shared regional threat.  The success of this program is a true testament to our commitment to work together to promote the rule of law and the safety for all citizens in this hemisphere.

Like the combined training with Task Force Lanza in Calderas, the Working Dog Training Facility in Bonao, and our many other shared projects – the goal is a safer society where citizens feel secure and can prosper and provide for their families.  The interceptor fleet has grown to thirteen boats through a shared effort – one that is truly emblematic of our working together.  The result is a capability that extends from the coast and is integrated with a broader regional, multi-national effort.

The Dominican Navy’s commitment to continue to innovate and develop capacity is reflected in your most valuable resource – human capital; specifically, the Officers and Sailors who crew the boats.  We want to especially thank them for their continued dedication and commitment.

Thank you all again for being here and for the opportunity to celebrate this occasion with you today!