TT COAST GUARD COMMISSIONING CEREMONY
Attended the TT Coast Guard 46th anniversary commissioning ceremony. Unquestionably one of the best events on the national calendar. The military parade was tight and precise. The speeches were short, appropriate and bearable (wife commented that henceforth all speakers should be at a podium placed in the open air, in direct sunlight, to elicit brevity).
The operations display by the Special Naval Unit was a scenario of a woman kidnapped at a function in the company of her bodyguard. Her minder and several bystanders were shot during the snatch, with a CG medical team taking them away on stretchers. She was whisked away in a small boat, and quickly transferred to a larger boat. The SNU’s response was rapid and overwhelming. They used two tactical five-man units arriving in inflatable speedy craft. One unit rescued the hostage on the larger vessel, while the other apprehended the kidnappers on the smaller. An Air Guard helicopter provided support, intelligence and overwatch while two TT Police Service vehicles arrived to take the bad guys away to justice. Some in attendance wondered aloud about the uncharacteristic speed of the police, making suggestions that perhaps it was TTCG personnel disguised in Police uniform and vehicles.
An old WW2 3.5 inch anti aircraft gun was so loud when fired (even with a one quarter charge) that many unprepared guests were left gasping, with Guardsmen smiling knowingly at each other.
The atmosphere and ambience was unusual; spotlessly clean, almost clinical surroundings on a military base at the waters edge, with not a sign of camouflage BDUs. Coast Guard ships anchored at the jetty with a beautiful sunset on the horizon. Yet the top military brass and other security experts mixed quite easily and informally with the civilians present. Even though career military persons tend to be sombre, humourless types, the after-parade reception was replete with jokes, banter and raucous laughter.
The food and service were both of such a high standard that even though I attend numerous functions quite regularly I could not remember the last time I had a mix of such well prepared, tasty and nutritious food and drink (they even had coconut water and Supligen) served by such helpful, courteous and attentive serving staff.
The pride felt and openly expressed by civilian guests was heartening and unusual as the general public is usually wont to criticize the protective services, sometimes with good reason. The skills, professionalism and attention to detail displayed, coupled with the historic loyalty for which TTCG is known (remember 1970?) makes me feel both proud and (I never thought I’d say this) secure as a citizen of this fine nation. Maybe Acting Commissioner Philbert, who was present, could have the TTCG train some of his officers. One would also hope that Minister Joseph wasn’t merely espousing platitudes when he praised the TTCG and announced planned increases in resources for them.
In attendance were the Minister of National Security, Sen Martin Joseph, Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Donna Cox, Chief of Defence Staff Brig Edmund Dillon, Commanding Officer of the TTR, Col Maundy, head of the SAUTT, Brig Peter Joseph, Commanding Officer of the TT Air Guard, Group Capt Moore, Acting Police Commissioner James Philbert and many former senior military officers including Brig Carl Alfonso, Rear Admiral Kelshall, Commodore Franklyn (presently IMA exec dir).
I unreservedly congratulate the Commanding Officer, Captain J Ramoutar and the Executive Officer, Commander K Huggins and all ranks of the TT Coast Guard.
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