[xml][/xml]
The Bahamas Weekly Facebook The Bahamas Weekly Twitter
News : Bahamas Information Services Updates Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM


‘Seamless transition’ key to change of OPBAT Command
By Matt Maura, BIS
Oct 2, 2007 - 9:37:06 AM

Email this article
 Mobile friendly page

opbat__X1A1022_1_.JPG
Minister of National Security the Hon. Tommy Turnquest speaks at the OPBAT (Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos) George Town Change of Command ceremony between the U.S. Army to the D.E.A. (Drug Enforcement Administration) on Monday, Oct. 1, 2007 at the Police Training College airfield. (BIS Photo/Tim Aylen)

NASSAU, The Bahamas --- Minister of National Security and Immigration, the Hon. Tommy Turnquest said Monday that a “seamless transition” in the change of command of the mission of Operation Bahamas, America and Turks and Caicos (OPBAT) in Georgetown, Exuma, from the U.S. Army to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency was critical to the continued success of the programme.

 

The “seamless transition” included assurances from the United States Government to the Government of The Bahamas that while the U.S. Army would not head the operation any longer, the assets it contributed to OPBAT would not be diminished “but in fact strengthened.”

 

Minister Turnquest said the change of command will not negatively impact the war on drugs in The Bahamas as the DEA has always played a significant role in OPBAT operations in collaboration with the U.S. Army and local law enforcement agencies.

 

opbat__X1A0999_1_.JPG
D.E.A. Special Agent-in-Charge, Aviation Director William Brown speaks at the OPBAT (Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos) George Town Change of Command ceremony between the U.S. Army to the D.E.A. (Drug Enforcement Administration) on Monday, Oct. 1, 2007 at the Police Training College airfield. (BIS Photo/Tim Aylen)

His assurance was echoed by Mr. Edward Frothingham III, the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counter-narcotics, Department of Defence and Dr. D. Brent Hardt, Charge de Affaires, U.S. Embassy, Nassau, who said that the hand-over will allow the operation to “benefit much more greatly from better cooperation and better technology.”

 

Minister Turnquest said it was “very significant” to the Government of The Bahamas that there was a “seamless transition and a continuity” with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) now becoming the lead agency.

 

opbat__X1A1064_1_sm.JPG
D.E.A. Special Agent-in-Charge, Aviation Director William Brown speaks at the OPBAT (Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos) George Town Change of Command ceremony between the U.S. Army to the D.E.A. (Drug Enforcement Administration) on Monday, Oct. 1, 2007 at the Police Training College airfield. (BIS Photo/Tim Aylen

He said initially, there was going to be a 12-month lag between the assets being provided by the DEA and the U.S. Army pulling out (but) that The Bahamas and the United States had “high-level discussions” led by Prime Minister Ingraham and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Brent Symonette in Washington this summer “which led to this.”

 

“We find particularly satisfying, the assurances the United States Government has been able to give that the Army must leave, but that the quantum of assets it contributes to OPBAT would not be diminished and in fact would be strengthened,” Mr. Turnquest said.

 

opbat__X1A1199_1_.JPG
A D.E.A. Special Agent briefs Minister of National Security the Hon. Tommy Turnquest, front, Charge d' Affaires of the U.S. Embassy Dr. D. Brent Hardt, back, and Minister of Public Safety and Home Affairs for the Turks & Caicos Islands the Hon. Galmo Williams, centre, as they prepare for a ride in one of the D.E.A. 412 Belle helicopters during the OPBAT (Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos) George Town Change of Command ceremony on Monday, Oct. 1, 2007 at the Police Training College airfield. (BIS Photo/Tim Aylen)

“And so we are very pleased that we have been able to have this seamless transition because we did not want to have a lag between the Army pulling out October 1, 2007 and the possibility of not having the DEA additional assets being available until 2008,” Mr. Turnquest added.

 

The change of command took place just five months shy of the 25th anniversary of the launch of the OPBAT Programme between The Bahamas, the United States of America and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

 

During that period, the joint operations have resulted in the seizure of more than $3billion worth of illegal drugs and a reduction of “almost 70 per cent” in drug trafficking into and through The Bahamas.

 

“Time has shown that the energies and resources The Bahamas and the United States of America have put into the OPBAT partnership and other bilateral initiatives have yielded excellent results,” Mr. Turnquest said.

 

opbat__X1A1068_1_.JPG
Members of the U.S. Army say farewell to Bahamian D.E.U. (Drug Enforcement Unit officers as they prepare to leave the Bahamas in Blackhawk helicopters at the close of the OPBAT (Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos) George Town Change of Command ceremony between the U.S. Army to the D.E.A. (Drug Enforcement Administration) on Monday, Oct. 1, 2007 at the Police Training College airfield. (BIS Photo/Tim Aylen)

“We have prosecuted major drug traffickers in both of our jurisdictions; we have contributed to the dismantling of nefarious drug cartels; we have frustrated the attempts of others to organize and engage in this deadly criminal drug trafficking enterprise and we have seen drug trafficking into and through The Bahamas, once a favoured route, decrease by over 70 per cent in the last two decades,” Mr. Turnquest added.

 

U.S. Charge de Affaires, Dr. D. Brent Hardt said that there should be no drop-off in efforts as the DEA, which he said has always been the lead agency within OPBAT, will now take on “an even large role” with the assumption of operations at Georgetown.

 

opbat__X1A1110_1_.JPG
Members of the U.S. Army prepare to leave the Bahamas in Blackhawk helicopters at the close of the OPBAT (Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos) George Town Change of Command ceremony between the U.S . Army to the D.E.A. (Drug Enforcement Administration) on Monday, Oct. 1, 2007 at the Police Training College airfield. (BIS Photo/Tim Aylen)

Dr. Hardt said the new DEA helicopters will continue to provide the 24/7 response capability required to “seamlessly continue operations in Georgetown.”

 

“At the same time, the new fixed-wing aircraft will provide OPBAT with greater detection and monitoring capabilities allowing for patrols of longer duration and greater distances.

 

“We are also pleased that the Department of Defense (DOD) will continue to support the operations at Hawk’s Nest and we welcome DOD’s continued engagement in this vital mission on our Third Border,” Dr. Hardt added.

opbat__X1A1211_1_.JPG
Minister of National Security the Hon. Tommy Turnquest and Charge d' Affaires of the U.S. Embassy Dr. D. Brent Hardt, left, enjoy a laugh as they prepare for a ride in one of the D.E.A. 412 Belle helicopters during the OPBAT (Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos) George Town Change of Command ceremony on Monday, Oct. 1, 2007 at the Police Training College airfield. (BIS Photo/Tim Aylen)

opbat__X1A1266_1_.JPG
Charge d' Affaires of the U.S. Embassy Dr. D. Brent Hardt gives the thumbs up as he and a delegation of dignitaries go for a ride in D.E.A. 412 Belle helicopters during the OPBAT (Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos) George Town Change of Command ceremony on Monday, Oct. 1, 2007 at the Police Training College airfield. (BIS Photo/Tim Aylen)

opbat__X1A1121_1_.JPG
U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopters take off from the airfield at the Police Training College marking the official change of command of the OPBAT (Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos) George Town division from the Army to the D.E.A. (Drug Enforcement Administration) on Monday, Oct. 1, 2007. (BIS Photo/Tim Aylen)

 


Bookmark and Share




© Copyright 2007 by thebahamasweekly.com

Top of Page

Receive our Top Stories



Preview | Powered by CommandBlast

Bahamas Information Services Updates
Latest Headlines
The Bahamas Press Club Executive Officers call at Government House
The Bahamas Heart Association Members call at Government House
Minister Pintard Brings Remarks at Kingsway Academy’s Honour Society Alpha Kappa Tau Induction Ceremony
Women United applauded for success of first Empowerment Summit
Minister Campbell gives support to ‘She Ready’ Theme; calls on women to resist going from one extreme to the next