Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 09, 2014 (SKNIS): Government’s expenditure in support of the security forces will increase in 2015 to $32.7 million, a rise of $2.8 million or 4.1 percent of the total allotted in 2014.
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Right Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas made the announcement on Tuesday (December 09) during the presentation of The Appropriation (2015), 2014 Bill, commonly referred to as the Budget.
“Mr. Speaker, the issue of crime and the maintenance of law and order is a complex issue which requires cooperation and dedicated support from all groups within our society,” he stated, citing his capacity as the Minister responsible for the Anti-Crime Unit. “This Government has been taking proactive steps and will continue to create innovative policies and programmes targeted at removing the scourge of criminal activity in our Federation.”
The Prime Minister said that law enforcement in St. Kitts and Nevis remains undaunted in its duty to protect life and property and said the implementation of key programmes and projects will continue to reduce criminal elements. Much of the focus will be placed on expanding community policing initiatives as well as utilizing technology to combat crime.
Under community policing, the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force currently implements the Mentoring, Advising, Guiding and Instructing Children (M.A.G.I.C.) programme which teaches primary school students to resist peer pressure, bullying and drug abuse; and also the Teens and Police Service Academy (TAPS) which aims to bridge the gap between lawmen and women and adolescent youth. The Law Enforcement Explorers’ Programme (LEEP) will also be introduced to increase interaction between the police and the community.
On the technology front, Phase One of the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Programme saw the deployment of 48 cameras in strategic locations. Additional surveillance and monitoring equipment is expected to be erected in 2015, under Phase 2 of the programme that will “result in the deployment of approximately 100 CCTV cameras,” Prime Minister Douglas outlined.
The head of the Anti-Crime Unit, also reminded the nation of the recent donation of 10 patrol cars to the police force by the Republic of China (Taiwan), as well as the purchase of a Mobile Command Unit, which will assist the deployment of police during critical operations and at major national events. The command vehicle was purchased with support from the European Union under its 10th European Development Fund Safety and Security Improvement Programme.
“Our development cooperation with the EU has also result in the purchase of six, four wheel drive vehicles for the security forces in order to improve their ability to patrol and respond in areas where the terrain is more rugged,” the Prime Minister noted. These vehicles are expected on island in the near future.
Mention was also made of the upgrading of the physical infrastructure for security forces, the ongoing construction of a new security training facility and the passage of pieces of legislation designed to promote law and order and strengthen law enforcement.
“No reasonable person can expect the Government to tackle crime alone. Rather it is vital that all of us, all, all of us band together to rally against the misguided few, the minority in our society who insist on acting against the law,” he emphasized. “Let us therefore then, individually and collectively, redouble our efforts to reduce crime even further, so that the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis can continue to be a leader and shining beacon not only within the Caribbean but internationally as well.”