AS part of this year’s Police Week activities, representatives from the Marine Unit of the Royal St Lucia Police Force [RSLPF] put on a thrilling display at the Castries Harbour.
The week of activities unfolded with a Church Service last Sunday followed by other major events.
A highlight of the activities was the launch of the Police App, on Tuesday.
On Thursday, four vessels from the Marine Unit put up a “grand spectacle”, to demonstrate their boating skills.
ACP Albert noted that the marine unit plays a critical role in monitoring illegal activity on the waters.
“Every aspect of law enforcement is critical …and that involves the seriousness, the challenges, and the difficulties the police experience in executing their duties” he noted.
Referring to the hectic duty of the marine unit, he said, “The simple maneuvering (of vessels) in clam waters, shows how dangerous this can be,” added ACP Albert.
“Far less, being out in the open waters and having to battle with the waves, as well as these criminal elements out there,” he said.
“So, their journey on a daily basis is a difficult one and we appreciate what they do …and they are needed in the fight to secure our porous borders and keep our community safe,” ACP Albert noted.
In a lighter moment, away from the thrills and action at sea, Commander of the Police Marine Unit Kentry Frederick said, the display was intended, among other things, to bring some “joy and cheer” to Police Commissioner Crusita Pelius-Descartes for her hard work and dedication to the force.
Fredrick explained that the exercise was intended to display to personnel from the Ministry of Home Affairs who are integral to the police operations, and the public generally, “the capabilities of the boat and what basically they have to display, in terms of confronting the challenges when it comes to Maritime Security.”
He noted that some of the challenges faced by the marine officers, involves deep sea fishing, illegal unreported fishing, the illegal drug trade, illegal distribution of narcotics and firearms, and illegal migration.
“So, we try to secure our borders, in terms of a little inject in all of those areas,” the marine unit commander stated.
“But, even more importantly, is for us to enforce the Customs Laws and the Fisheries Law because we must protect our fishing industry by being out there,” he added.
Frederick said the unit is confronted with “manpower” issues in conducting their operations, “but we try our utmost best”.
He said Saint Lucia and other neigbouring countries aligned to the Regional Security System [RSS] have recorded some success in the fight against illegal activities on the waters.
The marine unit commander explained that, the unit works in tandem with St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and other RSS countries in an effort to curb these illegal activities.
“But more importantly, we have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the French, which is Martinique in the north,” he said.
He noted that Saint Lucia operates within a ‘shared -border’ with Martinique, located at least 12 miles away, and wider links with France.
“What we try to do is to work together with the French, in terms of achieving some success,” said Commander Frederick.
Over the last two years, or so, Saint Lucia has collaborated with Martinique in the fight against the drug trade and other illegal activities taking place at sea.
Commander Frederick noted that this collaboration has brought about “more results, in terms of seizures and successes”.
“Sometimes, you make interceptions which may not result in recovering the drugs, but it would be jettisoned (thrown overboard), which means it is lost and will never get to the streets anywhere,” declared Frederick.
“We see a greater collaboration between us and the French authorities, in terms of, the movement of people, the movement of goods and services and most importantly, the security of the two countries,” he asserted.