February 17, 2006

Prime Minister meets with Police top brass

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves met recently with the Commissioner and top officials of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force to discuss, among other things, substantive issues of security and improving law and order in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Consultant to the Prime Minister’s Office Sir Vincent Beache and Deputy Prime Minister Sir Louis Straker also attended the meeting – the first with the Officers since the Prime Minister has taken up the portfolio of National Security. {{more}}

At the opening of the meeting, Prime Minister Gonsalves stated that before it can provide any public service, the state has a primary obligation to offer security to its citizens and to deliver justice through a well-balanced judicial system. Dr. Gonsalves noted that there are many areas of police work that can improve, and he encouraged the Officers to “lift their scale so that they can face the challenges more successfully.”

He advised them to seek outside assistance if necessary in order to assist in their weak areas. Dr. Gonsalves assured the Officers that the government is supportive of them. He pointed out some of the work done recently, including the building and renovation of Police Stations, the acquisition of a 2.3 million dollar Coast Guard Vessel and increases in allowances and bonuses for the Officers.

Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves added that a lot of legislative work will be done this year, but noted that whatever reform is carried out, at the end of the day the ordinary man must see that the Police Officers are doing their job and that justice is served.

Speaking at the meeting, Commissioner of Police Keith Miller admitted that there is need for training in areas of crime scene management, shoe print and tire analysis. The Commissioner said he is prepared to invite experts to help in these areas, not only in investigating crimes, but in providing the necessary training to officers.

Discussions are continuing on the Restructuring of the Police Force, the Supervision and Maintaining of Police Stations’ and Legislation – including a Ticketing System, new Traffic Act and Immigration Act.