CMC) – The St. Kitts-Nevis government says members of the Regional Security System (RSS) will remain on the twin island Federation “as long as the high command of the security forces deems their support to be necessary”.
Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris said that the RSS, who has been here since October last year, had been able to make a significant contribution to reducing the level of crime in the country.
“From the period October 6 to present, our country has not had a homicide. In the six weeks prior to the RSS arrival, we experienced one homicide per week,” he said.
Harris said that the RSS is a critical asset available to all member states and St. Kitts-Nevis is the only country in the sub-region that is regular in its payments to the Barbados-based entity.
The RSS is an international agreement for the defence and security of the eastern Caribbean region. It was created in 1982 to counter threats to the stability of the region in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Four members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), namely Antigua and 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-Nevis and Grenada later joined the initiative in 1983 and 1985, respectively.
Harris said that over the last four years Basseterre has contributed EC$7.4 million (one EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) in membership dues to the RSS.
“This is our contribution to the preservation of regional security. The Regional Security System has been invited here to help complement our manpower needs. They will be here as long as the high command of the security forces deems their support to be necessary,” Harris said, adding “every effort will be made to ensure the safety and security of Kittitians and Nevisians and all who reside in and visit our country”.
He said the presence of the RSS provides the opportunity for enhanced learning and training for the Police Force and for building their capacity to work in operations across law enforcement agencies at home and abroad.
“Our citizens, residents and visitors are deeply appreciative of the work of our law enforcement officers, and I encourage our security officers to exhibit utmost professionalism when serving and protecting our people.
“I wish to place on record my appreciation and gratitude to the member states of the RSS for their contribution to the enhanced peace and security, which we have experienced since October 2018,” Harris added.