During Expodefensa last week, Curtis Hand, on behalf of MONS, was able to have a “60-Seconds with…” interview with Mark Golby, Assistant Director for the Americas and the Caribbean at the Defence and Security Organisation with the UK’s Department for International Trade.
Mr. Golby is well-versed in the business, opportunities, politics and resources of the region and has some very unique insights for our readers and followers. These are rather poignant as the UK seeks to re-position itself in a post-Brexit international marketplace. This means creating new, mutually beneficial partnerships on terms that foster cooperation and growth for all concerned.
MONS: You said in your presentation this afternoon that UK is "here to listen" in Colombia and, presumably, across Latin America. How is this happening and what will you do with what you learn to help foster trade and cooperation?
M. Golby: We are hold meetings with key individuals in order that we can fully understand the plans of the Colombian military. These are not isolated plans as we already have an ongoing relationship via British Embassy staff in Bogota. By developing that long term relationship we aim to become a key strategic partner for Colombia as it looks to focus on external issues.
MONS: What are the specific specialisms in Colombia that piqued the interests of the UK defence and security industry?
M. Golby: Colombia is going through a period of change and this creates opportunities. Specifically, they have a ship building industry that is looking to expand and we see that as an area where we can work together with Colombia to share IP and allow them to enhance their existing capabilities.
MONS: As the UK shipbuilding industry is in something of a shambles - recalling how on the same day BAE Systems announced massive redundancies / lay-offs as it did winning a large Gulf States contract - how will the UK shipbuilding industry be able to compete with more successful nations in a region where its footprint is rather faint?
M. Golby: I would disagree with the statement that UK shipbuilding is a shambles. There is a number of global projects where Britain is bidding, with its expertise backed up by the recent launch of two new aircraft carriers and cutting steel on t26. We also have the national ship building strategy,which looks to manage the challenges of building ships. We are looking to share this experience in the region.
MONS: Thank you.