BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS — Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris’ administration has assigned approximately $72 million to the Ministry of National Security in 2017, the largest yearly budgetary allocation ever given to it.
This has resulted in more state-of-the-art resources, including equipment and training, which are achieving positive results while boosting the morale and resolve of law enforcement officers.
“In 2014, for example, the report I have says $15.3 million [was allocated to the Ministry of National Security]; in 2015, $20.7 million; in 2016 – the first of our budgets – $63 million, and in 2017 we are up to $72 million,” the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis said today, Tuesday, March 14th, 2017, on WINNFM 98.9’s Voices program.
The $72 million that is being disbursed to the Ministry of National Security this year represents an almost five-fold increase over the $15.3 million allocated to it in 2014.
The $72 million is also exactly double the combined total amount ($36 million) disbursed in 2014 ($15.3 million) and 2015 ($20.7 million).
This year, too, the Ministry has seen a dramatically stepped-up operations tempo for its forces, with intensified joint operations involving all agencies of law enforcement now a permanent feature of the national security response system.
As a result, more vehicle checkpoints, stop-and-searches, as well as searches of abandoned properties (including derelict vehicles) and lots are taking place throughout the Federation. For instance, between March 10th and 13th, the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force conducted close to 50 vehicle checkpoints and stop-and-searches.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Mr. Terrance James, who leads the Operations Directorate, was quoted today in a police press release, saying: “With this increased tempo, we have seen an encouraging decline in various types of incidents.”
“Let me commend our law enforcement for their successes thus far and also note the significant reduction in homicides for the months of January and February: two homicides for those two months in 2017 versus six [during the first two months] in 2016 and nine [during the first two months] in 2015,” the Honourable Prime Minister said last Thursday at his press conference.
Speaking Tuesday, March 14th, on the Voices program, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, who was the special guest, detailed the aggressive strategy being employed to bolster the security forces.
“We spent monies just in December – $800,000.00 – to buy vehicles. That was the first of any significant investment in the transport fleet for the Defence Force. Equally, we have made substantial investments in the police. Outside of our own budget, $5 million from the Taiwanese Government was pumped into our CCTV program [for the Cities and Roadways Surveillance System CCTV Project – Phase One], and we could go on and on,” Prime Minister Harris said.
Dr. Harris added that, “Training is continuing apace. At my last press conference, I said that we have exposed the law enforcement officers to training in forensics. We have exposed them to investigative techniques and a host of other areas of critical importance to the delivery of results. Ultimately, as I said in the beginning to the High Command and to the country, it is one word that will matter in terms of the evaluation.”
Addressing Mr. Newrish Nital, the radio host, the Honourable Prime Minister continued: “And you said it in relation to the government. It’s the results. So we are investing now, hoping that we will have dividends in the near future.”
In reiterating his commendation of the law enforcement agencies during his radio appearance today, the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis noted that, “The start of this year has been a very good one…While it is early yet, this beginning is an auspicious one and we hope that the downward trend would continue throughout the course of the year because, in the end, these are the dividends about which I speak, which must come back in tangible terms where we have the police being able to catch the criminals quickly and bring them to justice, so that the court system can deliver the quality of justice that the society expects and the law determines.”