BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, MAY 28th, 2016 (PRESS SEC) – In a statement issued last Saturday, May 21st, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris reaffirmed his Team Unity administration’s support for the nation’s security forces and pointed out that the Ministry of National Security is the beneficiary of one of the largest allotments in the Government’s EC$608.3 million budget.
“That is why we engaged the Bramshill Policing Advisers to provide training, mentoring and investigative assistance in solving crimes and homicides in particular. That is why we have invested in a new K-9 Unit. That is why we are pursuing the expansion of CCTV. That is why we increased the risk pay for our security forces by 20 percent. That is why we have enhanced the Royal St. Christopher & Nevis Police Force’s communications abilities with the commissioning of the Motorola digital radio system,” Prime Minister Harris said in the statement.
For the first time in St. Kitts and Nevis, the agencies within the Ministry of National Security are able to communicate over a wide area via radio handsets. At the Prime Minister’s monthly press conference on April 20th, 2016, Dr. Harris said that, as at that date, his administration had spent EC$3.2 million on a Motorola digital radio system.
“We’re talking about roughly 700 radios, so it is a very big project,” Mr. Reuben Pollock, Telecommunications Officer in the Ministry of National Security, said this week. “An officer can speak with a colleague in Gingerland, Cotton Ground or Charlestown from Basseterre, likewise in Sandy Point, Old Road, Tabernacle, Cayon or Frigate Bay. We’ve never had that capability before,” Mr. Pollock added.
The Telecommunications Officer elaborated: “Previously, we relied heavily on the phone. We had radio communication in place, but point-to-point. In Basseterre, we have a repeater that covers a five-mile radius, so you would have been able to talk to somebody in Stapleton’s Village, St. Johnston’s Village, Bird Rock, and so forth, but beyond that you weren’t able to reach them. That would be five miles right or left to whichever repeater that you were closest to, but you never had the privilege of sending it [a digital signal] that far [as we can now] because of the topography of the islands.” The repeater that Mr. Pollock mentioned is an electronic device that receives a signal and retransmits it over some distance at higher amplitude.
A system was therefore designed for the Ministry of National Security to mimic the cellular telephone system and therefore overcome obstructions from mountains that previously hindered their communications, said Mr. Pollock, adding that, “We have extended it to about 25 nautical miles offshore from anywhere around St. Kitts and Nevis, to assist Coast Guard operations. So this is another benefit. If there is a rescue effort at sea, the Coast Guard should be able to communicate with us from that distance.”
Emergency medical services (EMS) and the accident and emergency (A&E) departments at the local hospitals are also being equipped with radios, to enable a faster response in preparation for incoming patients. Hand-held radios for EMS and base radios for the hospitals will facilitate a level of collaboration that did not exist before between the emergency medical services and the hospitals’ A&E departments.
This all forms part of what Prime Minister Harris said in his statement last Saturday, May 21st. Dr. Harris said that his Team Unity administration firmly believes that an integrative, interdepartmental approach must be taken and all hands are required to be on deck in mobilizing effective responses from the government and, in particular, the Ministry of National Security.