2012 Press Releases
U.S. Embassy and BNDC’s “Youth Express” Peer Leadership Campers Participate in OPBAT Helicopter Demonstration
June 27, 2012
The winners of the first “Youth Express” Essay, Rap and Poetry Contest participated in an Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos (OPBAT) helicopter demonstration at the Royal Bahamas Defense Force Base (RBDF) at Coral Harbour the morning of June 27, 2012. The 29 students, aged 11-15, had the opportunity to tour the helicopter and learn about the efforts of OPBAT to combat drug trafficking into and through The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands. The group was the first of 600 total children, including those participating in the RBDF summer camp, to witness the demonstration. In addition to combating drug trafficking, the students learned that OPBAT also executes search-and-rescue missions throughout The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
This was one activity out of a week-long National Peer Leadership Camp for the contest winners, cosponsored by the United States Embassy in partnership with the Bahamas National Drug Council (BNDC). The camp is designed to encourage the future leaders to stand up to negative peer pressure and become agents of positive change within their schools and communities.
The U.S. Embassy’s Narcotics Affairs Officer, David Jea, mentioned that the Embassy was proud to be a part of the effort, and that he is optimistic about future initiatives to reduce the demand for illegal drugs and encourage youth development. He went on to say that the Embassy and the U.S. Government look forward to further engaging civil society groups in these efforts.
The campers also participated in a question and answer session with an agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Bahamian Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU), who encouraged them to be active leaders and to remain mindful of their bright futures.
The Peer Leadership Camp will conclude with an official ceremony on Friday, June 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the RBDF Base in Coral Harbour. The Acting U.S. Chargé d’Affaires John Armstrong and officials from the Ministry of National Security will provide remarks at the event.
The demonstration was an example of the regional cooperation between the United States, CARICOM member nations and the Dominican Republic. Through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), significant work is being done to improve citizen safety throughout the Caribbean. The CBSI collaborates to substantially reduce illicit trafficking, increase public safety and security, and promote social justice.