CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo – Portuguese Army Brig. Gen. Marco Serronha, deputy commander, Kosovo Forces, visited Camp Bondsteel and a few of the municipalities within the area of operation for Multinational Battle Group East, Sept. 14.
During his visit, Serronha spent the day in various municipalities, traveling with the Liaison Monitoring Teams from MNBG E.
Maj. Higinio Figueroa, Las Piedras, Puerto Rico, commander, 192nd LMT, gave Serronha a brief on the job of the LMTs.
“The purpose of the Liaison Monitoring Team is to sense the populace to see where the issues lie. The purpose is to help in providing and maintaining a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all the people and institutions in Kosovo,” said Maj. Figueroa. The 192nd LMTs are comprised of Soldiers from the Puerto Rico National Guard.
Brig. Gen Serronha first visited the municipality of Strpce/Shterpce, where he met with LMT 7 and 1st Lt. Suehaine Cancel, Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, officer in charge.
1st Lt. Cancel and her team brought the general to a restaurant in town and gave a presentation about the municipality and the concerns that are brought up within the community. After the presentation, Brig. Gen Serronha was able to meet with the two deputy mayors of Strpce/Shterpce.
One of the many things that were talked about was education in the area.
“Education,” Brig. Gen. Serronha said, “is one of the most important things. These children are our future.”
Brig. Gen. Serronha then visited the municipality of Gnjilane/Gjilan, and Camp Monteith, which is now a training area for the Kosovo Security Forces.
Capt. Enrique Russe, Morovis, Puerto Rico, LMT 3 officer in charge, explained to Brig. Gen. Serronha what his team has experienced within its area.
With the winter months approaching, power cuts are made by the Kosovo Electric Company to save on available resources. During the outages, people in Kosovo need to find ways to heat their houses and cook food. Because of this, illegal woodcutting (to use for fire) is on the rise, said Capt. Russe.
“If we can …show them that if they continue destroying the forests by cutting it down, they will soon not have any more forests in the area,” said Capt. Russe.
Brig. Gen. Serronha then visited Kamenica/Kamenice, where he was met by Lt. Col. Jose Boria, Juncos, Puerto Rico, deputy commander, MNBG E, and the LMTs from the area.
1st Lt. Octavio Perez, Guayama, Puerto Rico, commander, LMT 1, explained some of the many issues facing the people in the area, such as the condition of schools.
“The LMTs did a great thing recently for the children here in Kosovo,” Lt. Col. Boria told Brig. Gen. Serronha. “They collected money and were able to purchase school supplies for many of the children in the poorer areas.”
One of the main themes throughout the day was working together with the institions in Kosovo. Each LMT emphasized that the relationship between the Kosovo Police and the government officials is a strong one that will only get stronger.