Top trainees- Shamara O. Huggins (right) attained the best written test results while Amita C. Matthew landed the top spot for spoken presentation (Spokesman Snap)

By: Precious Mills

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (Friday 22nd February 2019)- The first batch of twenty-four (24) trained island constables -20 females and 4 males-have been asked to take their jobs seriously which includes ensuring that beaches do not become hot spots for criminal activities.

That call was made by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security Osmond Petty while speaking at the closing ceremony held last Friday afternoon (15th February) at the Police Training Complex in Basseterre.

“The special unit will play an integral part in the security system in St. Kitts and Nevis. This unit has been established to support law enforcement. You have something on your shoulder marked ‘POLICE’; you’re not really police fully but people see you and you’re marked ‘POLICE’ so you’re supposed to emulate police and do the right thing at the right time and so you’re supposed required to  provide security at spots frequented by tourists.”

“Tourism is an integral part of the economy of St. Kitts and Nevis and occupies an important position in the nation’s policies and plans for national development. The Ministry of National Security has therefore decided to establish this special unit exclusively for the protection and service of domestic and international tourists. Having completed your initial training, I’m sure that you will develop into an efficient and devoted tourist patrol unit,” he added.

Petty continued: “As island constables, you will have powers like any other police constables.

Your mission will be for the protection of tourists, prevention of crime perpetrated against them as you provide them with assistance. At the same time, you must ensure that while in the Federation, tourists conduct themselves within the mandates of the laws of St. Kitts and Nevis. You must be able to monitor what is happening around you in any prescribed tourists prescribed areas where you are stationed. In so doing, you will be providing a sense of security to those visiting the country.

He told that the vision of their role has to be clearly demarcated since the country depends largely as a tourism industry on much of the revenue in noting that “you will play significant role in ensuring that tourists feel safe at all times considering the role that tourism plays in the in the economy …25 per cent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product); that’s a lot, the Ministry of National Security and by extension the government of St. Kitts and Nevis remains committed in keeping the place a safe haven for visitor. The training you have completed therefore enables you to assist government in fulfilling this mandate.”

The National Security official outlined his security concerns regarding the beaches.

“I am particularly concerned about tourists when they are on our beaches. We must ensure that our beaches do not become hot spots for criminal activities. Your active involvement on the beaches will ensure that they do not become a hub for nefarious activities. We want out beaches to remain clean, organised and safe places to visit.”

Petty told the island constable trainees that their ultimate evaluation “will be judged on the extent to which you assist in making tourists feel safe.”

He encouraged them to “live up to the expectation that we expect of you.”

“I really would be disappointed if we hear any one of you get involved in activities which would embarrass the police force or embarrass us at the ministry because we have put a lot in the formation of this…(plus) you would embarrass the people who have trained you,” the National Security official admonished.

The trainees are: Dion Liburd, Jessica Jones, Dashan Jacobs, Donnette Simon, Arlene Richardson, Mary Hodge, Fiona Challenger, Lavardo Cummings, Amita C. Matthew, Shamara O. Huggins, Nickeila V. Hodge, Tamarie M. Hazel, Dawnecia Matthew, Donna S. Bradshaw, Jackie W.  Campbell, Zakeemer D. Henry, Odessa A. Lewis, Laddona M. Wilkinson, Ramoya Lewis, Kerstina Carty, Aiesha Wilson, Corporal Alexis Jospeh, Shakquanda Thomas and Sahina Williams.

The course kicked off on Monday 21 January. Topics covered include Island Constables Act, Prescribed Areas Act, ethics in law enforcement, attributes of  a good constable , customer service as well as police subjects such as pocket book, station diary, report and statement writing and how to give evidence. 

Huggins attained the best written test results while Amita C. Matthew landed the top spot for spoken presentation.

On Monday this week (18th February), they took the oath of office and received instruments of appointment at a ceremony held at Government House located at Springfield.