THE HAGUE–Strengthening maritime intelligence-driven police action, long-term financing, and cooperation with partners such as police and the judiciary are some of the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard’s (DCCG’s) focal points in 2020, according to the recently-released DCCG annual plan.
Search and rescue tasks, as well as combating drug-trafficking and illegal migration – especially from Venezuela – are also high on the agenda. “In 2020, the Coast Guard will continue to work on the replacement of shore radar and [improving – Ed.] the capacity for reconnaissance from the air,” said the Dutch Ministry of Defence in a press release on Friday.
The Kingdom Council of Ministers, at the suggestion of Dutch Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld, approved the 2020 DCCG annual plan.
“In addition to good equipment, the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard must also have enough staff available. Then it will be possible to be operational 24/7 in the future and to act in an information-driven manner in the maritime domain,” said the Ministry of Defence.
Sustainable financing is also given attention in the annual plan. According to the Ministry of Defence, agreements have been made between the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao, and St. Maarten on the financing of “replacement capacities” in the Long-Term Plan 2019-2028.
The Netherlands had already promised financial means for joint financing of replacement investments. Now the other three countries will also start contributing according to a “growth model,” said the Ministry of Defence. “This guarantees the continuity of the Coast Guard’s task performance.”
Bijleveld said the DCCG operates in a very turbulent environment, working under sometimes dangerous circumstances for personnel.
“The influx of Venezuelans is growing. With its limited resources and people, the Coast Guard cannot intercept everybody who comes to the ABC [Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao] Islands illegally.
“The Coast Guard intercepted a record amount of drugs last year, and thereby made an important contribution in the fight against organised crime. For law enforcement, it is essential that the four countries in the kingdom continue to invest in the Coast Guard,” according to the press release.
According to the Ministry of Defence, the DCCG has been assisting in monitoring maritime borders since 2019. “This is done through extra sailing days by the station ship and deployment of the Curaçao and Aruban militias. They will help the service teams of the Coast Guard in Aruba and Curaçao until the end of this year,” said the Ministry of Defence.
According to Bijleveld, it is still important to address the so-called “blind spots” in the current detection system. These are caused by outdated shore radar, insufficient possibilities for patrols from Bonaire, and a lack of permanent camera surveillance.
Last year, the Dutch government released one-time incidental funding to help Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao with Venezuela-related migration problems. The DCCG bought mobile radar systems, cameras and drones with the funds. The money also funded the construction of a boat jetty in Bonaire.
Bron: Daily Herald