BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, APRIL 22nd 2013 (CUOPM) – Double history is in the making in the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force.
The law enforcement agency not only has its first female Superintendent of Police, but also the first female head of the Strategic Intelligence Unit, formerly Special Branch. Both honours go to Ms. Merclyn Hughes.
According to the Official Gazette dated 14th February, 2013, the appointment as Superintendent took effect from 1st March 2012 and was among several other police promotions. Ms. Hughes took command of the Strategic Intelligence Unit in January this year.
Ms. Hughes became a member of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force on December 1st, 1979 and underwent six months of initial training.
“Over the years I’ve worked in several Departments/Sections within the Police Force including Traffic Department, Telecommunications, Criminal Record Office, Airport Security, Fire and Rescue Services, Training Academy, Court and Process, Beat and Patrol/Remand, Divisional Officer Personal Assistant. However, most of my tenure has been with the formerly known Special Branch Department now called the Strategic Intelligence Unit (SIU),” Ms. Hughes said.
She has been in a supervisory role for the past fifteen years, six of those as an Inspector of Police. She became Head of the SIU in January 2013 and was promoted to Superintendent of Police effective March 1, 2012.
“Among the courses I’ve benefited from are Regional Security System (RSS) Staff and Command Course in St. Lucia (November 1-30, 2012), Advance Management Course (4 weeks) at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA), New Mexico (April-May, 2010), Law Enforcement Management Development Program in El Salvador also an ILEA sponsored program (September-October 2010); Police Executive Management and Leadership Training Seminar, St. Kitts (January 15-23, 2009). I have also benefitted from several INTERPOL training courses and currently serve as the Head of our INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB),” she told the Communications Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister (CUOPM) in an interview.
In 2007, Ms. Hughes was seconded for four months at the Regional Intelligence Fusion Center (RIFC) in Trinidad and Tobago as a Liaison Officer during the West Indies hosting of Cricket World Cup.
“My responsibilities included supervising the information coming in and going out of the Center and liaising with law enforcement agencies within the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). Also within the Center were representatives from the International participating countries as well as INTERPOL. The Center was conceptualized as a means to ensure that information flowed in a timely manner throughout the regional and international law enforcement communities,” she said.
She holds the Certificate in Public Administration from the University of the West Indies.
In addition to my policing activities, she is a founding member of the AWANA Boys/Girls Club at the Grace Gospel Hall, Middle Island, her home church.
“The club is in its fourth year and has an attendance of nearly 100 youths ranging from ages 4 to 15. Although it is spiritually driven, the youngsters are taught among other things conflict resolution, team building and leadership skills. I am also a founding member of a group within our church called Women of Purpose which has a strong outreach program in the community. Currently, I am a board member on the Credit Committee of the Police Cooperative Credit Union,” said Ms. Hughes.
The Official Gazette announced the promotion of Sergeants Charles Smithen and Conrod Bertie to Inspectors. Inspectors Wilmoth Hodge, Cromwell Henry, Andre Mitchell, Vaughn Henderson and Lionel Moore have been promoted to Superintendents and Sergeants Stephen Hector and Diana Mills to Acting Inspectors.