BDF more than guns and boots, Says Stuart
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has defended the need for the military in the absence of a threat of war, strongly suggesting that the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) was not a waste of money.
In delivering the feature address to mark the end of a week of celebrations in observance of the BDF’s 36th anniversary, Stuart stressed that in addition to protecting the country’s borders, the force played a valuable role in national development and prosperity.
“Military forces are not always fully appreciated in times of relative peace and stability and, worse than that, are sometimes viewed as a financial burden on national budgets in periods of economic stringency. But the Barbados Defence Force does what it can to help itself in those periods when operating budgets are reduced,” said Stuart, who chairs the Barbados Defence Board.
“It is universally accepted that national security is an inescapable responsibility of the modern state if it is to safeguard its interests and promote and project its values in order to sustain prosperity and development. There cannot be any real and sustained development without the existence of a safe, secure and stable environment. You, the loyal men and women of the BDF, contribute significantly to this enduring national endeavour,” the Prime Minister told those gathered at the BDF headquarters at Paragon, Christ Church for the closing parade and awards ceremony.
Stuart revealed that last year alone, the soldiers intercepted over $8 million worth of illegal drugs, tackling narcotics on land and at sea.
“It is pleasing to note that in providing a safe environment through its efforts on the high seas, the Barbados Coast Guard participated in operations that led to the interdiction of 2,759 pounds of marijuana and 140 kilogrammes of cocaine, and to three vessels being seized over the past year, [and successfully conducting operations] that led to the seizure and destruction of 11,644 marijuana plants.”
Declaring that the Barbados military was “much more than guns, bullets and boots”, the Prime Minister painted a picture of the force’s involvement in multiple sectors of Barbadian society, from education to sport, including the training of over 800 civil servants in subjects dealing with information technology and information management systems.