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Plans Afoot for New Police Bases

By Reginald Andrew

GOVERNMENT authorities have announced plans to provide adequate and permanent location for two police stations on island—while reiterating its commitment for construction of a new police headquarters.

About five years ago, due to ‘mold infestation’ and other hazards on the compound, the former Gros Islet police station which was located in the town along Dauphin Street was relocated to a temporary structure on the outskirts, at Massade.

Image of the building once known as the Vieux Fort Police Station.
The building once known as the Vieux Fort Police Station.

However, more recently the Massade location has experienced some infrastructural issues resulting in the officers moving temporarily to the Gros Islet Human Resource Centre, before returning to the Massade base

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet disclosed that while construction works for a police station in Gros Islet is in the ‘pipeline’, presently, the authorities are seeking a temporary location for the officers.

“We are entering into an agreement …and those terms are currently being negotiated and we are looking for a substitute place to put the police officers,” said Chastanet, as he spoke to reporters recently.

According to the prime minister, three locations have been identified to sort out a temporary location to house the police base. He said efforts were being made to accommodate the officers for a period of about 18 months.

Meanwhile, the Vieux Fort police station has also been beset with mold and infrastructural issues and since 2019, officers had been moved to a temporary location on Clarke Street in the southern town centre.

Speaking at last week’s sitting of parliament, PM Chastanet explained that, “The Vieux Fort police station, which is the southern base of the Royal St Lucia Police Force [RSLPF] has been in a deplorable condition for quite some time, resulting in police operations being temporarily relocated.”

He said that a full renovation of the facility will be undertaken this year “and the Vieux Fort police station will be reopened to serve people in the south of the island.”

The prime minster also reiterated government’s commitment to provide officers of the RSLPF with a new and efficient police headquarters.

“During the current financial year, work will commence on a complex which will house the headquarters of the Royal St Lucia Police Force, court facilities and the remand facilities,” said Chastanet.

“For too long we have housed our police in sub-standard facilities,” he added. “The time has come to give the RSLPF a permanent and suitable headquarters, which they can be proud of.’

He noted that the courts too, have not had a permanent location for quite some time and they have had to relocate ever so often in the past years.

“This has contributed to the build up of cases and has been a nuisance to our criminal justice system,” Chastanet lamented.

The prime minister further informed that, “Designs of the structure has already been completed and a geo-technical analysis of the site will be undertaken shortly.”

He added that, “The facility will be conducted via a ‘bolt built’ only transfer arrangement …and we have also been pursuing a home for the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court headquarters and are in discussion to have the court located at the refurbished Daher Mall building, in BoisD’Orange.”

Chastanet also noted that over the past years, government has undertaken renovations of police bases in several communities and will seek to provide officers with better facilities to carry out their duties; as the officers continue to manage their operations in an effort to curb the increasing crime rate on the island.

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