Sep 25, 2008, 4:38 AM
The United States Coast Guard International Training Division last Friday certified at least 24 men of the Gambia Navy after undergoing a five-day intensive training course on boarding preparation and procedures, stopping incorporate vessels, conduct of high risk search techniques, detection of hidden illicit items and identification.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, presided over by the US Ambassador Barry Wells, the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff Major General Ousman Badjie said the course has generated a lot of significance and importance to the members of the Armed Forces and the Gambian navy.
According to him, this is also a clear testimony that the training, among others, would enhance efficacy and techniques in the way and manner the navy discharges it roles and functions, as the maritime arm of the Gambia Armed Forces.
Badjie implored participants to judiciously and appropriately apply the knowledge gained from the programme, as well as share with their colleagues who were not opportune to attend it.
Major General Badjie also commended Ambassador Wells for his support and understanding.
For his part, Ambassador Barry Wells congratulated the security officers for successfully completing the US Coast Guard basic boarding course.
"Members of the GAF have regularly been commended for their professionalism and outstanding participation in military activities and a key to that high level of performance is a commitment to excellence and discipline which you have clearly demonstrated this week," he said. He said the political will shown in countering narcotics trafficking and securing our water is evident in the presence and participation of the GAF top brass during the course.
"I am certain that the information and instructions gained from this course will have a long-term impact on your actions in future," he stated, expressing hope for additional training courses with the US Coast Guard in the near future.
For his part, the chief instructor of the programme, Anthony Cirillo hailed the officers for demonstrating high sense of commitment.
Chief instructor Cirrilo said the training marks another beginning in the new partnership between The Gambia and the US.
The Army Public Relations Officer, Lieutenant Pierre Beyai urged the participants to make the best use of the knowledge gained in order to make Gambian waters a no-drug trafficking zone, and to combat illegal fishing by foreign vessels.
He thanked the US Coast Guard international training division for helping the Gambia Armed Forces build up on its human capacity.
The course was initiated as part of the US government’s support to enhance maritime security and counter-narcotics measures in the region.