February 6, 2009
SVGRPF officers receive terrorist attack training

Three members of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force and 21 of their regional counterparts are now better prepared to prevent terrorist and other attacks against ‘soft’ targets such as major hotels, sports venues or religious and cultural sites.{{more}}

The officers recently completed a two-week pilot program entitled: “Preventing Attacks against Soft Targets” offered by the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service through its Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program.

The participating officers were Station Sergeant Desmond Haywood, Corporal Benzil Samuel and Corporal Disraeli Lett.

The course, which was conducted at the Regional Police Training Centre, in Barbados, is a blueprint for similar training within the region and eventually worldwide and was facilitated by the Regional Security Office at the United States Embassy, Bridgetown. It was designed to assist regional law enforcement agencies in preventing armed attacks or incendiary or explosive attacks against events which draw large crowds.

The participants were taught how to draw up comprehensive security plans and to draft responses to established threats.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy Dr. Brent Hardt noted that within the past three years the United States had provided over US$8 million to the security sector of the region, encompassing training, equipment, and other programs.

“We remain fully engaged and committed as the key security partner for the Caribbean region, and we intend to be there as partners for years to come,” he said.

The US envoy noted that President Barack Obama had stated his intention to work with other nations to strengthen their capacity to combat terrorism. He added that recent experiences had clearly showed that ‘soft’ targets such as hotels, cruise ships and areas where high numbers of tourists gather could prove attractive targets for terrorists.

“As we have seen in Bali, Egypt and, most recently, in Mumbai, such soft targets are inviting for terrorists seeking international attention. Only by working together can nations hope to deter such heinous attacks,” he added.

Law enforcement officials from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Lucia took part in the training.