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Guyanese Prime Minister Visits Comfort

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070929-12
Release Date: 9/29/2007 12:12:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Tyler Jones, USNS Comfort Public Affairs

ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- As part of its partnership with Guyana, hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) hosted several Guyanese government officials, along with diplomats from the United Kingdom, Brazil and Canada Sept. 28 during the ship’s humanitarian visit.

Guyanese Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, British High Commissioner to Guyana Frasier Wheeler and Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana Charles Court, were among the distinguished visitors aboard Comfort for a tour of the ship’s facilities and to meet with senior Comfort leadership.

Capt. Bob Kapcio, Comfort’s mission commander, said meeting face to face is an important step to finding solutions for Guyana’s health care system.

“Partnership for the Americas is all about pairing with our friends and neighbors,” said Kapcio. “We want Guyana to know that we stand in solidarity with them in building a sustainable, responsive health care system for their people.”

Over the course of Comfort’s four-month humanitarian deployment, dozens of distinguished visitors have toured the ship and met crew members, including the heads of state and government of several Latin American and Caribbean countries.

These visits are vital to the success of Comfort’s mission, said the medical treatment facility’s Commanding Officer Capt. Bruce Boynton.

“We need to be able to build partnerships with those who are in positions of power within each country,” said Boynton. “Once we’ve made that partnership, we’re able to affect future programs.”

Boynton also said that the ship itself helps tell visiting dignitaries about Comfort’s mission and capabilities.

“When I came on the ship 10 years ago, I was astounded. It was hard to believe there was such a huge hospital inside a ship. When people come aboard, they can clearly see [our capabilities],” Boynton said.

“Part of the mission is to tell our story,” Boynton continued. “It’s a story of good will and volunteerism of the United States and what we’re doing and how we’re changing lives.”

Comfort is nearly complete with its four-month humanitarian training mission to Latin America and the Caribbean, and will return to its homeport of Baltimore in mid-October.

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