St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The St. Kitts and Nevis administration may not be too hasty to move towards a regional police force, but what they will propose is the creation of a pool of resources and expertise that would be easier to both access and mobilize.
At the Prime Minister’s recent press conference, Dr. Timothy Harris was asked if he thought that having a regional police force was feasible. Dr. Harris said that at the moment, there was a real need for deeper functional cooperation among the members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), but that it may not be in the form of a police force.
“We have the mechanism of the R.S.S that is already available CARICOM wide but that is not always easy to mobilize and it is also expensive and therefore we are saying within the confines of the OECS we may be able to do some more things better, if we were to collaborate/cooperate rather than in a sense operate at sub-optimal. We want to develop a state of the art forensic department, a lot of the forensic material they would have to be shipped overseas like the UK, Trinidad at one point and elsewhere. What if we could invest and have somewhere here perhaps in St Kitts almost a centre of excellence in that, that would lead to a quicker turn around time?”
The Prime Minister added, however, that the idea of an OECS Police force had not been written off and that it was a goal that could be pursued, albeit not in the short-term. He said that it would have its benefits. One such benefit, among others, would be that manpower could be moved more easily to the territories that A had higher demand for it.
“People are saying that when we had the regional police force, we had a better display, we had a better mix, we had persons coming in from other islands and they added to the quality and perception at least for a while because there was less attachment to the communities and you will have these attachments as natural attendants of small sized communnitites, so persons have pointed to that benefit. That if we have challenges of good governance in our police force, if we have challenges related to associations then we have to begin to look at the mix and to bring other people to help in some way to mitigate against some of those disadvantages.”
Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris speaking to the feasibility of a regional police force.
St. Lucia’s Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, citing the high costs associated with a police force, believes that regional cooperation in the area of security in the OECS might be able to function similar to the cooperation among states for the Eastern Caribbean Supreme court.
A senior member of Dr. Harris’ cabinet, Premier Vance Amory, seems to supports Mr. Chastanet’s the idea stating that “It is clear that we are faced with very serious regional threats to our security and it means that we have to have a regional response”.