Ministry of National Security – Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Site Visit

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Bahamian delegation pause for a photo moment with Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission Members photo by Samantha Black

A twelve (12) member team from the Ministry of National Security/Royal Bahamas Defence Force and the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources recently returned from Tallahassee and Miami, FL, after a comprehensive site visit of Florida’s Fish & Wildlife Commission (FWC), in anticipation of standing up a parallel agency to be known as the Bahamas Wildlife Enforcement Network (BahWEN).

In attendance were the Honourable Wayne Munroe, MNS & BahWEN Steering Committee Chair; Honourable Vaughn Miller, Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources; Mrs. Cheryl Darville, Permanent Secretary, MNS; Commodore Raymond King,Commander Defence Force (CDF); Captain Shawn Adderley, RBDF Staff Officer Legal Affairs; Captain Floyd Moxey, MNS Legal Counsel; Lieutenant Commander
Desiree Corneille, RBDF BahWEN Lead; Ms. Danielle Hanek, Acting Director of Forestry, Mrs. Samantha Black, Executive Assistant, MEEN, Lieutenant Commander Samantha Hart, CDF Aide; Petty Officer Ricardo Cummings, BahWEN Committee member; and Mr. Brent Dixon, MNS Aide.

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission, which operates under the motto, Patrol, Protect, Preserve has over 2000 employees in their Law Enforcement Division, more than 800 of whom are sworn officers working to fulfill the vision of being “recognized as the leading conservation law enforcement agency in the nation, set apart by strategic vision, clear missions, strong leadership and a professional officer corps.”

The Florida’s Fish & Wildlife Commission most closely mirrors an implementable concept that BahWEN will be able to garner valuable information about best practices and industry standards from; thus equipping those involved in its decision making process with
knowledge of avoiding commonly associated legal and operational pitfalls. During the visit that took place from 23 – 27 th May 2022, officers from Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission provided a tour of their facilities and provided a general overview of their law enforcement program and how the different divisions, including port inspections, marine patrols, investigations, and its academy are interrelated, staffed and organized. They discussed the benefits of their legislative makeup, general authority, tools of the trade, and lessons learnt from their tenure as Florida’s premier Wildlife Enforcement unit.

Whilst in Miami, the Bahamian delegation accompanied FWC officers on a maritime patrol as they enforced compliance and executed inspections throughout their jurisdiction. Minister of National Security, the Honourable Wayne C. Munroe, who has been appointed to chair the BahWEN Steering Committee, commented that he sees the agency that will be stood up being, “an intentional, multi-sectoral agency comprising law enforcement personnel, seconded from various Ministries and agencies, possessing high levels of training and equipped with adequate resources and modern technology to mitigate wildlife crime and protect natural resources in The Bahamas.”

“At its inception stage,” he said, “it is vital to appreciate and understand the broad concept of what such an agency can evolve into, if properly facilitated.” The Bahamas Wildlife Enforcement Network is ultimately proposed to monitor the natural resources in the country and enforce the various laws protecting them.

More photo highlights below: