Sunday 22 April, 2018

New police headquarters or Gros Islet station: Moncherry to decide

The Government of St. Lucia is in discussion with financiers to build, operate, lease and transfer a new police headquarters in Castries and a new police station in Gros Islet however, whether both or one is built, it all depends on Police Commissioner Severin Moncherry.

Home Affairs and National Security Minister Hermangild Francis said that government is in discussion with Moncherry as to which of the two is a priority.

“If he (Moncherry) says Gros Islet then we go with Gros Islet, if he goes with police headquarters we go with police headquarters but we are not doing things on our own, we are consulting and taking advice from the experts in the field,” Francis said, adding that his government is in conversation with Moncherry as to which station is a priority.

The Minister spoke of a new digital radio system to be procured for the Police Force and also the Fire Service noting that the system comes with a feature that transform the radios into cellphones.

“We are in discussions with a company and as soon as we can get that police will be equipped with that measure to fight crime,” Francis said.

The physical structure of police stations on the island has been a bit of a controversy as both the former administration and the present have spoken of providing better facilities for police officers to work in.

One such case is the building out of which Soufriere police officers have been conducting their day to day duties. This building has been in a deplorable state for a very long time. Today the officers are out of it and occupying the old Bank of St. Lucia building in the heart of the small town.

According to Francis the new home for Soufriere police officers is costing the government “a tidy sum”, however he admitted that the transfer was necessary.

“We continue to take care of the police stations. Last year we had quite an issue with mold and so on but we moved in very quickly,’ Francis said.

 There seems to be a new thrust on the part of government to improve the services and professionalism of the police department.

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has spoken of training in investigative techniques for the police force and the introduction of community policing that he thinks will complement the social development of young people.