By Roberto López Dubois/Diálogo June 26, 2017 To keep its 2,988 kilometers of coastline, and nearly 1,518 islands in Panamanian waters from being used by groups dedicated to organized crime, the National Air and Naval Service (SENAN, per its Spanish acronym) created the Air and Naval Marine Corps as a tactical operational branch that has jurisdiction throughout the isthmus. “The marines’ fight against criminal activities, such as drug trafficking and contraband, among others, is no easy task if you consider the conditions on the ground in mangrove swamps and reefs, and the huge stretches of beaches that have to be patrolled,” stated Second Lieutenant Daniel Navas, of the Air and Naval Marine Corps. At the time of its creation on March 21, 2014, the unit had 100 personnel trained to face the adversities posed by their theater of operations. Today, the group has 205 marines focused on performing land patrols and carrying out reconnaissance and incursion duties in hard-to-reach areas. It also has a permanent presence at observation and security posts in areas that are far from the coasts. “The Air and Naval Marine Corps is present in the Caribbean Sea and in Panama’s Pacific Ocean region. They act as a support element for controlling sea traffic in maritime interdiction on coastal patrol boats, from which they perform security duties during vessel boardings and inspections,” 2nd Lt. Navas added. “Likewise, they conduct air operations in which they carry out the duties as tactical operational units. To secure targets in hard-to-reach zones, they use airborne rappelling, sliding down ropes from rotary wing aircraft.” A persistent struggle Panama’s islands and coastal areas are constantly in the sights of transnational organized crime groups – the same groups that use them as hideouts for their illegal transfers. In 2016, government security agencies seized a record 68.4 tons of drugs. Compared to previous years, SENAN is second among the four security services in the country to seize the most drugs every year. That is why the Air and Naval Marine Corps undergoes ongoing training, to keep the marines conditioned so they can fulfill their duties. Internationally, SENAN has agreements with Colombia, Chile, Peru, and the United States, among other nations, to receive training at home or in these allied nations. “This unit is an essential piece for the operations established in technical cooperation agreements with other Panamanian security entities,” said Deputy Commissioner Félix Kirven, the head of Panama’s Second Air and Naval Region. “We stay in communication to do combined operations and training.” Ongoing training The marines have to be trained to be in motion for seven to eight hours without rest in difficult terrain, where extreme weather conditions such as downpours and stifling heat prevail. They must also remain alert in order to deal with heavy sea swells or rising rivers, and they have to eat only from their rations while staying camouflaged in the environment. “Training a marine is quite complex because his theater of operations requires our office to be the mountain, while our offices are the rivers and the seas,” Second Lt. Navas added. “A marine has to be ready to leave his family for many days, aware that the work is hard, and the fight against drug trafficking is head-on and demands effort.” National and international exercises In addition to training, the unit also participates quite actively in national and international exercises. One of these is Panamax Alpha, a Panamanian exercise in which various state security institutions participate, simulating a variety of emergency situations. They even receive training from international instructors to reinforce plans and procedures that allow them to operate efficiently in different situations in defense of the Panama Canal. “The mere presence of [the Air and Naval Marine Corps] has the effect of dissuasion, and thanks to their presence we have struck decisive blows in our fight against drug trafficking in missions locating stashes [hidden drugs], rescuing victims of human trafficking, and detecting groups or individuals acting outside the law, placing them at the disposal of the competent authorities,” Deputy Commissioner Kirven stated. The Air and Naval Marine Corps also participates in international exercises such as PANAMAX, a multinational exercise sponsored by U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), whose objective is to ensure the security of the Panama Canal and the surrounding region. It includes armed forces from several nations across the continent, including Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, among others, to coordinate among allied nations on all operations relating to the security of the Panama Canal. They are also part of other highly important regional exercises such as UNITAS, which is held annually by the U.S. Navy, and is also sponsored by SOUTHCOM. In its 57th edition, in September 2016, Panama was the host country for this exercise, with participation from the navies of Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, and the United Kingdom. “It’s an honor to belong to the Air and Naval Marine Corps. Not everyone can get in. The best part is the satisfaction of accomplishing your mission, seeing the achievements made and seeing that every time the bell rings, there are marines in every part of the country ready to accomplish their task,” 2nd Lt. Navas added.
Share Tweet LocalNews Dominica celebrates 33 years as an independent country by: – November 3, 2011 Share 490 Views no discussions Uniformed groups with hands raised in unity.The Commonwealth of Dominica is today celebrating its 33rd anniversary of independence with a parade of uniformed groups highlighting the occasion at the Windsor Park Sports Stadium in Roseau, under the theme; “Celebrating 33, Joining Hands in Unity”.On November 3rd, 1978 Dominica obtained full independence under a republican Constitution with a unicameral legislature consisting of twenty-one elected and nine nominated members; with Prime Minister Patrick John at that time and a Cabinet based on the Westminster model.As this morning’s celebration there were two platoons of Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force Officers, one platoon of Fire and Ambulance Service Officers, One platoon of State Prison Officers, two platoons of Cardet Corps Officers and the Dominica Government Music Lovers Band who formed part of the parade.Sisserou Award of Honor awardee, Mr John FabienFeatured speaker; the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit, outlined some of the achievements of this thirty-three year old country led by the Dominica Labour Party government.The prime minister noted the importance of assessing the country’s achievements over the past thirty-three years of independence.“What have we achieved after thirty-three years? Are there things we could have done differently? What are our present challenges and do we have the collective commitment to overcome them? To adequately and satisfactorily respond to these questions, we need to remind ourselves of this mission that we set out on thirty-three years ago”.According to Prime Minister Skerrit, the mission outlined was “a task of building a nation, of building a people, of building men and women of pride and commitment to country”.Dr Dublin being congratulated by Felix Henderson who escorted him to receive his awardHe further noted that the road to success is dependent on what unites a nation and not what divides, calling on citizens to unite in an effort to further build the country.“The road to success in nation building rests on the foundation of peace, harmony and unity. We must have the qualities of responsibility, respect for the rights of others, hard work and a propensity for saving and investment,” the prime minister said.Mr Skerrit further explained using a story from the bible of the need for unity and told members of the Opposition United Workers Party his office is open to them for consultation on matters of state and also extended an olive branch of peace to them.“Where there is disunity and confusion, men stop listening to each other and can accomplish nothing. I say to the leader of the opposition and all the other members of the opposition that the office of the prime minister is open if they wish to consult him on any matters of state…I extend an olive branch to the Opposition that as we join hands in building this country to overcome the present day challenges and make Dominica a more prosperous nation for our people because if we stand united we could achieve great things, but if we are divided we will not benefit from what God has in store for us,” he said.Mr Rawle Leslie accepting the award on behalf of the East Caribbean Conference of Seventh Day AdventistAs part of the observance of independence thirteen individuals and one group were awarded by the President of the Commonwealth of Dominica His Excellency Dr. Nicholas J. O Liverpool, D. A. H for their contributions toward the development of the country.The Sisserou Award of Honour was conferred upon former minister of health Mr John Fabien for his contribution to public service management, Chairman of the National Development Foundation of Dominica Dr. Damien Dublin for his contribution to private and public sector and the East Caribbean Conference of Seventh Day Adventists for their contribution to evangelism.Cultural Elder 2011 Arthur Massicot of Vieille Case receiving award for Meritorious Service in community developmentThe Meritorious Service Award was conferred upon Mr Arthur Massicot for community development, Mr Michael Murphy for public sector management, Ms Marvlyn Birmingham for public sector management, Rev. St. Clair Mitchell for pastoral leadership and Mr Oliver Sanderson for community development.The Services Medal of Honour was conferred upon Mr Bingsworth Casimir for music, Mr Antoine Raffoul for business, Ms Lullalyn ‘Lyn’ Edwards for agriculture and Mr Loverty Greenaway for mechanical engineering.The Long Service Award was conferred upon Ms Vyleen Hazel for early childhood education and Mr Glenford Andrew for print technology.The uniformed groups saluted President Liverpool in both slow and quick time march past; formed a creative display of 33 and joined hands in keeping with the theme.The parade marched off from the Windsor Park Sports Stadium on to River Street, left on to Bath Road, right on to Hillsborough Street, left on to Dame Mary Eugenia Charles Boulevard, left on to King George Vth Street and left on to Bath Road and Police Headquarters.Dominica Vibes News Share Sharing is caring!