July 28, 2015
Police find drugs, firearms in forest during RSS course

by Ari Shaw

Police seized and/or destroyed a large quantity of drugs, firearms and ammunition last week during mountain patrols, which were part of phase two of the Regional Security System (RSS) training course.

According to a course report given last Friday by course officer superintendent {{more}}Glen Paul at the closing ceremony for RSS Training Institute Basic Course 1 2015, marijuana, shotguns, ammunition and a grenade launcher were found between July 20 and 22 in the forested areas of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Paul said the seizure of 108,519 mature marijuana plants, 1,332,501 seedlings, 4,899 pounds of dry plant material, two shotguns, one .22 rifle, one sniper rifle, 119 shotgun cartridges and three MM1 grenade launchers took place during phase two of the training course, which officially commenced on July 8.

He said during the training, students were instructed in ‘Jungle Survival’ and related subjects, including ‘Jungle Navigation’, ‘Construction of Shelters’, ‘Patrolling’, ‘Contact Drills’, ‘Fighting in the Jungle’.

The course officer said that the training took place in two phases: from May 4 to July 3 in Barbados, then from July 8 to July 24 in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Participating countries were Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Lessons were delivered in the classroom and at the Hermitage Forest Reserve, which was utilized as the main training area during this period.

Paul said that having completed the practical aspects of the lesson, the instructors focused on the survival aspects by moving the students to Richmond Beach with only salt, water and a form of light, along with a personal kit and a weapon. The students were expected to seek food, build shelter and secure themselves for the period at that location.

He said during the second part of the exercise, which was the journey over La Soufrière volcano, students woke at first light and demonstrated the physical training they acquired. According to Paul, the students applied themselves and came out trained to the RSS standard at the basic level.

Last Friday, nine students received awards for outstanding performances in the principal subject areas.

PC Akeem Hendrickson of the St Kitts and Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF) received the award for ‘Best at Map Reading’; PC Terrance Joseph of the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force (CDPF) received awards for being the ‘Best Pistol Shot,’ ‘Best Rifle Shot’ and the ‘Best Student’; PC Verndal Phillip of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) received the award for being the ‘Most Physical Male’; WPC Davina Charles of the RGPF was the ‘Most Physical Female’; the ‘Best at First Aid’ were PC Douglas Caesar of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) and WPC Davina Charles (RGPF), while the award for the ‘Best Turned Out Student’ went to PC Nikolai King of the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force (ABDF).

In brief remarks, Commissioner of Police of the RSVGPF Michael Charles congratulated the graduates and advised them that this was only the beginning of great things.

“RSS is the best thing to happen to the region and is equivalent to West Indies cricket in regards to togetherness.”

He also encouraged the students by telling them that the course is a stepping stone, which contributed significantly to his current position.

Robert McDonald, programme specialist and officer in charge of narcotics affairs at the United States Embassy in Bridgetown, also congratulated the graduates. He noted that the United States Government has been a strong advocate in the support of the RSS Basic Course over the last 15 years and contributed to funding this year’s course in the amount of US$107,000.

“All our countries agreed to share the responsibility for our current security. We believe that only through a unified regional response can we begin to hope to combat the fearlessly powerful and relentless crime syndicates,” he stated.

The aim of the RSS Basic Course is to train participants in the basic military skills required, in order to take their respective places in a section of the SSU or Special Patrol Group (SPG) within their respective countries.

Director of Public Prosecutions Colin Williams gave the feature address, while remarks were made by Bertie Hinds, acting executive director at the RSS headquarters. PC Terrance Joseph of the CDPF gave the vote of thanks.