National Intervention Team Well-Received In Hispanic Communities

Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 06, 2020 (RSCNPF): The Head of the National Intervention Team, Inspector Rosemary Isles-Joseph, disclosed that the group has been well-received in the Hispanic communities visited so far.

The Team has been visiting Spanish-speaking communities in St. Kitts to educate them on the seriousness of COVID-19 and to sensitise the residents about the safety protocols that have been established. Inspector Isles-Joseph explained that the group, which is comprised of Police Officers, would visit areas with a large number of Hispanic residents, such as McKnight and Newtown, and go to individual homes to speak with the occupants. They would also share information by using a loud hailer (megaphone) while walking through the area.

“We are letting them know the seriousness of the disease, what they should do in terms of washing their hands, that they should maintain their six feet distances and also to make sure that they follow the law – no partying. And once the curfew hours are on, they should not be out on the streets,” said the Inspector.

She was pleased to note a member of her team, Officer Laddima McSheene, was trilingual. With his help, the information given by the other Officers was translated so that persons who did not speak much English could understand. Additionally, informational leaflets from the National Emergency Operating Centre (NEOC) were also distributed.

Inspector Isles-Joseph said that most persons were appreciative of the information and were complying with the regulations that are in place.

“Those in McKnight, they were cooperative. They were wearing masks and they were saying that they have nowhere to go in terms of being out in the street, but then those from Newtown, they were more difficult because when we reached Newtown, they were congregating in large crowds… some of them understand what is going on and they really understand the seriousness of the virus so hopefully going forward, as we continue this, we will reach a more wider part of the population in terms of the Spanish-speakers.”

Officer McSheene expressed how happy he was to be a part of the initiative and to be able to use his skills to communicate such important information to others.

“The Hispanic community was amazed that there was an Officer that could communicate with them and educate them about the coronavirus in their native tongue. So the response was better than I expected, not only in these communities, but the citizens of St. Kitts, they were also amazed that the Police Force now has somebody who can relate to the Spanish persons that live here so it was a very good experience and it is something that we definitely would want to do again.”

The initiative is expected to be an ongoing one throughout the time of the State of Emergency and the team is has plans to extend the exercise to include all communities.

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