February 22, 2008
President of the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CIC) Mr. Franklyn Brand underscored the importance of partnership to the police and crime fighting given the major investments made in the tourism industry and allied services in the Federation.
His comment came when he delivered the feature address at the fifth annual Police Appreciation Awards 2007 under the theme “Building on five years of success through Partnership” on February 16, 2008, at the Old Manor Hotel in Gingerland, Nevis.
“This mammoth undertaking of maintaining law and order, ensuring public safety, bringing criminals to justice and preventing and reducing crime can never reasonably be done by the police in isolation. Partnership with the police in crime fighting and prevention is imperative”¦partnership with the police, business community, religious organizations, community groups and government should be an accepted practice and not something to be lobbied for.
“Moreover, the fact that we are a nation in transition with major investments in tourism and allied services makes it even more critical that law and order, a peaceful investment climate, a proactive police force and a high degree of public confidence in the police be top priorities of the government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis,” he said.
Mr. Brand referred to other Caribbean islands that in recent times had received intense negative international media coverage because of crime and its ill effects on tourism in the island involved. Negative press coverage he said could spell doom for the Federation’s fragile tourism industry and by extension its economy.
He made a number of suggestions, which in his view would allow for an effective public/private sector partnership with the police. He called for the strengthening or creation of a partnership between the police force, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce and community development groups and cited that business owners should be encouraged to join this partnership without the penalty of registration fees.
The coalition or partnership, he said, would provide business partners and community groups with email alerts about criminal activity that could potentially affect specific businesses or communities in a geographic location.
He also suggested that the police Force should conduct security audits and surveys of businesses within the partnership upon request. This exercise he said should include building security, personal security of management and staff, advice on handling money and cash transfers, store closing and workplace violence and robbery.
In collaboration with the Police Force and private sector security firms, Mr. Brand said crime prevention seminars throughout the year should be organized by the partnership and that two way communications between the Police Force and the business community must be maintained.
He said there should be improved or enhanced visibility of the partnership’s crime prevention programme through the use of prominent display decals or stickers at their business place, a symbolic gesture he believed would raise the profile of the partnership and act as a crime deterrent.
The CIC President was also of the view that literature and audio visual products on crime prevention should be produced for and provided to all new members of the partnership. Some of the material could be multi purpose as they could be adapted for use at primary and secondary schools in their Social studies curricular.
Businesses in the same geographical locations should be encouraged and facilitated to invest in electronic surveillance systems that would aid in crime prevention and bring perpetrators to justice. He said the police Force could offer advice to the partners in terms of strategic camera placement and the use of flood lights and motion sensors etc.
The importance of that type of collaboration in surveillance technology, Mr. Brand said, would make criminals realise that the areas under surveillance would be difficult to vandalise and burgle with the net effect of them moving to more vulnerable pregnable locations. He said it would also have the added benefit for staff and management with a feeling greater comfort and a safer working environment and a level of safety for patrons.
Mr. Brand also spoke on the technological perspective to improve law enforcement, criminal investigation and crime solving through partnership ands pointed to a number of areas in which the Police Force could develop its resources which would place its crime fighting efforts on the cutting edge and to enhance policing in the Federation.
Notwithstanding, he was mindful that but was mindful that in order implement some of his technology based suggestions it would require serious political will on the part of government to invest in national security.
“I am convinced that when the people of the country can attest to such a political will to prioritising law enforcement the social partners will confidently step forward to reaffirm their partnership with the police,” he said.
Mr. Brand also took the opportunity to admonish the officers of the Nevis Police Division of the Royal St. Kitts and Nevis Police Force to continue in their pursuit excellence in the execution of their duties and to do all in their power to improve themselves personally and professionally.