Vice Minister Dominici, Vice Admiral Pimentel (will update name and additional VIPs as they are confirmed), members of the Dominican Navy, and distinguished guests, I appreciate the opportunity to join you today as we celebrate the donation of this vessel, the tenth of its kind, as it enters service in the fleet of the Dominican Navy.
The donation of this boat comprises only a part of a larger program dedicated to providing assets and sustainment that enhance and develop long term partner nation capabilities across the maritime, land, and air regimes in support of our shared objective to counter Transnational Organized Crime. In 2014, U.S. Southern Command has provided over 1.1 million dollars of counter narcotics focused equipment and infrastructure. This patrol boat will be the tenth such boat delivered and the patrol boat program accounts for over half of this sum. The threats implied by Transnational Organized Crime span a broad spectrum that includes illicit trafficking of drugs, people, arms, and other contraband by transnational criminal organizations that potentially undermines governments and society. The assets and infrastructure provided by and enhanced through programs – such as the one that has brought this boat here today – represent a tangible and shared commitment between our two nations to work cooperatively and tirelessly to promote regional security and stability. These are efforts that we mutually hope will create a safer environment for citizen security, democracy, and trade across the Caribbean.
I am also excited to be here and celebrate the entry of this boat into service because, as the tenth boat delivered, it is emblematic of an already successful and sustainable program that has yielded considerable success. The ability of the Dominican Navy to operate closely with other forces – such as those of the U.S. Coast Guard District Seven, United States Southern Command, and the Joint Interagency Task Force South – creates a dynamic capability that is far greater that the physical size of the boat.
It goes without saying that the most valuable resource –the officers and sailors who will crew the boats – is a product of the Dominican Navy’s commitment to the rule of law and regional security. Thank you again for the opportunity to celebrate this occasion with you all today!