Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 05, 2014 (SKNIS): Government’s pledge to improve the conditions of work for members of the security forces has produced a newly renovated and expanded male barrack for the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF) headquartered at Camp Springfield.
A Blessing Ceremony for the new 16,000 square foot, two story building was held on Tuesday (February 04). The structure houses a state-of-the-art industrial kitchen, an improved dining area, recreation area, laundry room, showers, a computer room and accommodation for approximately 200 soldiers. The structure was constructed with inputs from the SKNDF, the Public Works Department and Her Majesty’s Prison.
Prime Minister the Right Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas delivered the feature address at the ceremony and reiterated the commitment to improve the security infrastructure.
“This government has expended a great deal of time, resources and energy, ensuring that the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force receives the type of support that it needs and we have done this because we are committed to protecting the people of this country and preserving the stability of our proud and progressive nation,” the Prime Minister stressed.
SKNDF Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Patrick E. Wallace thanked the Federal Government for completely funding the renovation and expansion.
“Which to me is a clear demonstration of the government’s commitment to ensuring the comfort of the men and women who volunteer to serve their country and an unwillingness to leave that important function to foreign donors,” he stated. “… What you are looking at before you is the ending of the first phase of an EC $2.5 million project to upgrade Camp Springfield. The second phase is in progress, namely the improvement of the Camp security by the erection of a new fence around the perimeter. Still to be undertaken are repairs to the females’ accommodation, Officers’ Quarters, Force Headquarters Building and also the renovation of the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Quarters.”
In the meantime, the men and women are enjoying the new facilities. Private Gareth Phillip has served in the SKNDF since 2006. He told SKNIS that the accommodations are much better and he was proud to see the promise fulfilled. Lance Corporal Dimitri Browne agreed with his colleague and was pleased to see the computer room added.
“The Commander is really interested in the soldiers advancing themselves personally, professionally and academically,” he stated.
The young man said he was impressed with the additions and the morale of the troops has been boosted. The soldiers promised to take care of the new building.
Prime Minister Douglas assured the members of the Coast Guard Unit that renovation work to their base at Bird Rock remains a priority for government.
“These upgraded barracks are part and parcel of my government’s ongoing commitment to ensure that the men and women who serve in this Defence Force are properly trained, properly equipped, properly paid and properly accommodated,” he disclosed.
The original building which served as living quarters for male soldiers was constructed in the late 1970s. A number of private firms including TDC, S. L. Horsfords and Co. Ltd, Builder’s Paradise and the Frigate Bay Development Corporation contributed to the renovation and expansion project.