A Dutch Coast Guard vessel on patrol in the Caribbean
WILLEMSTAD, Curacao -- The union representing Coast Guard personnel (NAPB) has reported that the Dutch Coast Guard in the Caribbean part of the kingdom of the Netherlands no longer patrols the territorial waters around Bonaire and Curacao.
This is the result of increasing violence against Coast Guard personnel.
According to a spokesman for the Coast Guard, personnel still perform rescue operations. The coast is still being monitored, but from the air from the Hato support center at the Curacao Airport. Curacao is a popular island for drug transit.
According to the NAPB, members are regularly intimidated. In a statement, the NAPB said that neither the government nor the Coast Guard itself can guarantee the safety of its members.
A statement from the military police said that they are investigating the abuse in Curacao.
Meanwhile, a working group will present a proposal on how to deal with the security of the Coast Guard personnel in Curacao, according to the minister of justice, Nelson Navarro.
The working group, consisting of a representative of the unions NAPB and ABVO, will examine this issue this week and will submit their findings and proposal to the minister.
The minister in turn must submit the proposal, before a decision is made, to his other colleagues from the BES islands, Aruba and St Maarten. Navarro has already met with the unions and also the Coast Guard commander about the situation. He is satisfied with the results of the meeting.
NAPB president, Ronaldo Abrahams is also satisfied with the results of the meeting. He reported further that the committee has already scheduled their first meeting. The topic is the protection of the coastguard personnel. The union leader also said that the plan is to expand the committee, but that will be announced at a later date.
Republished with permission of the Curacao Chronicle