BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris has praised the work of the Barbados-based Regional Security System (RSS) saying it remains an integral part in the region’s fight against crime and other illegal activities.
“The RSS is an important regional body and in the context of what is happening regionally, Caribbean-wise, and even globally with respect to crime, we have come to appreciate the importance of such a body,” Harris said at a ceremony on Friday where 23 officers from five Caribbean countries successfully graduated from a six week long Section Leaders Course.
Prime Minister Harris, who is also the National Security Minister here, said that the RSS “if it never did exist we would be forced to invent it.
“It is important that we have this regional mechanism to provide training and support in a standard way across our security forces and this is one of the very good jobs that the RSS has been doing.”
The RSS was created out of a need for a collective response to security threats, which were impacting on the stability of the region in the early 1970,s and 1980,s. In October 1982, four members of the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States, namely, Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Barbados to provide for “mutual assistance on request”.
St. Kitts and Nevis joined after gaining independence in September 1983 and Grenada in January 1985. The MOU was updated in 1992 and the RSS acquired juridical status in March 1996 by way of the Treaty which was signed in St. Georges, Grenada.
The Regional Security System is described as a “hybrid” organisation, in that its security forces comprise both military and police personnel who remain under the command of their respective heads.
Prime Minister Harris told the graduating officers that they should remain committed to serve and protect both within and outside the region.
“You must always want to be at the top of your game. You must always want to take advantage of the opportunity for professional development and professional growth, and your participation in a course like this should in fact help in honing your skills, and I take as an indication that you are concerned that you will not be left behind in terms of the essentials for working excellently in your chosen career.
“So I want to commend you. I want to commend that you get again a new reflection and the evolution of policing as a profession. I want you to have a new reflection that now in the context of what is happening and now in the context of the RSS Member States and those within the security forces within those Member States who subscribe to the RSS – the security forces are now regional.”
The programme here funded by the International Law Enforcement and Narcotics Office of the United States Embassy in Barbados.
Meanwhile, Woman Police Constable (WPC), Davina Charles of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF), copped the top student award from participants that hailed from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, St. Vincent and the host country.