THE MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS AND INTERNAL SECURITY
HONOURABLE CALIXTE GEORGE
AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE REGIONAL TRAINING WORKSHOP
ON INTER-AMERICAN TOURISM
RECREATIONAL FACILITIES SECURITY
Monday September 25, 2006
At the Bay Gardens Hotel
Thank you, Madam Chairperson
Minister for Tourism
Ministers of Cabinet
Walker, Representative of the OAS and CICTE
Spencer, Director of the Resident Office of the OAS
Excellencies of the Diplomatic Corps
ladies and gentlemen
I am very pleased to address you on this very important occasion which has
brought together both private and public sector officials from the Tourism and
Security sectors from the Bahamas in the North to Trinidad and Tobago in the
South, and with several other Countries in between; to establish strategic
alliances, exchange ideas and acquire new skills and competencies, to provide
more effective Security in the Tourism and Recreational Services Sector. These
Sectors have fast been providing a livelihood to thousands of citizens in our
respective countries, whether in the banking and insurance sectors, or in
Government, the hotels, restaurants, taxi drivers, vendors or whatever else.
The provision of
Security Services is to ensure the protection and safety of our citizens and
visitors alike and their properties. Deviant behaviour, crime and violence
also creates a higher demand for security services.
It is important to stress however, that crime must be addressed within a
long-term development plan with significant emphasis on social development.
Equally important too, is the need for a set of continuous strategic responsive
action over the long term.
The same is true whether you are in Australia, the UK, the United States or St.
Mistakes are easy to find in hindsight, but the task to remedy the upsurge in
crime worldwide, which has created this overwhelming demand for security
services must of necessity be tackled within a framework of critical
examination, analysis and timely responsive action with an appreciable high
level of precision. One may ask - How much should a Police Officer being
requested to investigate a crime rely on the hunches or intuition of citizens?
Crime is complex and requires an equally comprehensive response and
comprehensive strategic action in all areas. Short and medium term measures will
of course provide quick immediate impact; but will not be the solution.
At its twelfth Session on July 22, 2003 the economic and Social Council of the
United Nations adopted resolution E/RES/ 2003/21 entitled “Prevention of Urban
Crime”. In its resolution, the Council recalled the element of responsible Crime
Prevention and noted the scope for significant reductions in Crime through
approaches, and of the contribution that effective crime prevention can make in
terms of the safety and security of individuals and their property as well as
the quality of life in communities around the world.
Given the importance of the Tourism Industry to our economies, and the heavy
reliance of the incomes of our citizens on this sector in the Caribbean
generally; and I will address the situation in St. Lucia more specifically, it
is important that we safeguard and protect not only our citizens from unlawful
behaviour, but equally important is the protection of all our visitors who we
host in our countries every day.
In Saint Lucia, as economic activity intensified last year, with the St. Lucian
economy registering real GDP growth of 5.4%, it is important to note that this
growth was driven by the performance of the hotels and restaurants sector, among
a few others.
The Tourism sector continued again last year along its path of steady growth,
despite the emergence of several factors which posed a threat to prospects for
that sector. These factors included continued threats of terrorism in our major
Tourism accounted for 13.6% of real GDP last year, retaining its position as the
principal engine of economic growth in Saint Lucia. I have highlighted
these facts ladies and gentlemen, to illustrate the importance of that sector to
small economies like ours, and St. Lucia is no exception.
It is therefore imperative, that every effort is made to prevent crime in the
Tourism Industry and in our countries generally. Whilst crime against our
visitors may be unfortunately perpetuated by a few of our own people, we are
also increasingly becoming aware of crimes being organized and committed by some
visitors against other visitors.
In the case of Saint Lucia, we as a Government have carefully examined areas in
which we can make the fastest impact, with substantive outcomes in the fight
against crime in the short term; whilst social development over the long term is
SOME INITIATIVES ON SHORT-TERM PREVENTATIVE MEASURES WITH
IMMEDIATE MEDIUM AND LONG-TERM IMPACT
In the prevention of crimes against our visitors and residents alike, some of
the more profound action we have already undertaken in the short-term to deter
and minimize transborder international crimes, and in particular white collar
and other organized crime, and other serious crimes include-
introduction of a Passenger Tracking and Watch List system, which will
provide the capability for our Enforcement Agencies — Police, Customs, Air
and Sea Ports Authorities to monitor and facilitate active surveillance of
undesirables entering this country.
We have also
recently completed extensive work in preparation for the introduction of our
new machine readable passports and the corresponding System to cover this
particular process. Both of those new systems are backed up by State-Of-the
Art technological engineering.
The processes for the new Passenger Tracking and Watch list System and the
Machine Readable Processing System were developed within the framework of the
standards prescribed by the International Community and in particular the
International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO).
As I speak,
work is currently in progress for the introduction of a State-Of-the-Art
Automated Fingerprinting System, referred to as the (AFIS) which will not
only complement the work of the Criminal Investigation Department; but also
the enforcement activities at the borders, which will from time to time
require fast track fingerprinting processes.
my appointment as Minister for Home Affairs and Internal Security in January
2004, I held a number of consultations with key stakeholders which included
the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association, the Ministry of Tourism and
the Saint Lucia Tourist Board.
consultation proved to be a particularly valuable exercise and I am pleased
to announce that two new Units, the Tourism Related Crime Unit the (TRCU)
and the Victim Support Unit (VSU) are being established before the end of
this year, within the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force to reinforce the work
of the Police on the prevention, abatement and detection of crime against
our visitors, as well as our own citizens. Both of these Units will
undoubtedly enhance and strengthen communication between the Police and the
Tourism and Hotel sector, and facilitate in a more profound and effective
manner, the joint collaborative initiatives which will be undertaken by the
Hotel and Tourism sector and the Police.
As part of
Government’s strategic approach to crime fighting in the areas of
prevention, abatement and detection; a deliberate policy of a yearly
recruitment of Police Officers, have been effected over the past nine years,
to immediately provide replacement for Police Officers who may have
resigned, retired or may have been dismissed. Over this nine year period, a
total of approximately (500) new Police Officers have been recruited. Only
last month, (65) new Police Recruits graduated from the Police Training
Academy and (65) more new Recruits commenced their six month Training
Recruitment Program on the 4th of this month.
significance also, it is important to note that one of the components of our
Preventive Crime Strategy included a complete overhaul of the Police
Recruitment and Selection Processes.
In essence, no longer can persons wishing to be recruited or enlisted to the
Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, qualify base on who they know.
appreciate, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, that the business of
Security as it relates to the functions of the State, and Government’s
responsibility to its citizens and visitors alike, must be a serious and
Therefore, the protection of the lives of our citizens and our visitors, and
their property must be conducted by persons of the highest level of
I insist, that
the security and protection of our respective States, their citizens and
visitors, must never be placed in the hands of those who are easily lured
into temptation for a fast buck, and at the peril of our people and our
nations. We as Caribbean people must not allow this behavior to become a
norm in our Societies.
Lucia’s part, I have taken a new approach over the past two years to include
in the recruitment of Police Officers, the advertisement in all leading
newspapers in the Country; of the pictures and names of the applicants who
qualified for Recruitment Training and for appointment in the Police Force,
so that persons in the respective communities in which these applicants
live, can provide valuable feedback to us about the quality of their
character. I must tell you that from our experience we do not only receive
negative feedback, but we also receive positive feedback about our
other criteria, the modality used in the Selection Centre Process is based
on the recommendations of a UK - based Police Consultant Report; and
provides for a fundamental level of analysis of the prospective applicant’s
character, his/her ability to interact with other people, their ability to
apply sound judgement and initiative, and leadership capacity; among others.
You will agree, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, that the business of State
security and the protection of our citizens and visitors alike, is not to be
dealt with by individuals with questionable character. In this new Recruitment
Regime the individuals we recruit to the Police Force must have, above all, an
impeccable character, and my Ministry places great emphasis on this. It is no
longer about muscle and brawn. Intelligence and a sound character are absolute
and necessary requisites, among others.
words, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the quality of your ingredients
from the outset will determine the quality and soundness of your Final
Prior to 2004,
the year I was appointed to the portfolio of Home Affairs and Internal
Security, a policy existed in the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, where no
more than (10%) of the Force should comprise of women, regardless of the
number of women applicants which were received, and not withstanding their
performance on examinations and other proficiency tests undertaken, during
the Selection Process.
So that you
may have had for example a (female) applicant who achieved an overall Grade
Point Average of say, 3.75 out of a possible 4.0 and a (male) applicant with
a GPA of (2005) who obtained a GPA of (2.5). The (male) applicant would have
been recruited ahead of the (female) with the GPA of (3.75).
Suffice it to
say distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I directed that with immediate
effect, that policy be revoked, and since that time, our female recruits
have more than doubled over the past two years, compared to previous years.
You see ladies
and gentlemen, in societies like ours where women are predominantly the
heads of households, raising children on their own, and in several instances
also, women make up a larger percentage of our respective populations; then
it is obvious that our women must play their part in reaching out to our
communities in the fight against crime particularly at the prevention
We see from
empirical evidence that our juvenile delinquents and young offenders, are
generally the result of broken homes, and the abandonment of these homes by
the fathers. Our (women) Police officers are therefore expected to make a
significant impact as Enforcement Officers; in communities experiencing
these phenomena, which very often, leads to frustrated, angry and violent
What I mean
here, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, all hands must be on deck.
We must move
away from the narrow precincts of prevention strategies in the fight against
crime. There must be thorough examination and analysis of all issues and
militating factors; with strategic responses on all fronts and at all
consultations with the Hotel and Tourism sector, among others, our
Commissioner of Police, offered at no cost the conduct of security audits
for all hotels islandwide, to determine areas of weaknesses requiring
corrective action; among several other important areas discussed.
area in which work has long been completed, is the preparation and drafting
of a Private Security Bill, which seeks to licence, regulate and supervise
the quality of personnel and services offered by Private Security Business
The practise of
recruiting as a Security Officer, a person of undesirable character, or someone
much too old to be employed elsewhere must be a thing of the past. The Committee
which I established last year, to prepare the draft Bill, also included
representatives of the St. Lucia Private Security Association. The criteria for
persons desiring to provide the relevant types of security services, must be met
to qualify for the appropriate licence.
HANDLING OF CRIME IN THE TOURISM SECTOR
of Crime in the Tourism Industry; as I mentioned earlier, will receive a
significant level of support with the establishment of the two new units
currently in process. These are is the Tourism Related Crime Unit (TRCU) and
the Victim Support Unit (VSU); these two Units will provide the mechanism
through which appropriate. Systems and Processes will be utilized by
both the Police Authorities and the Hotel and Tourism sector to handle crime
perpetrated against the sector in a more sensitive and responsible manner.
SECURITY AT MAJOR SPORTING EVENTS
In the area of
security at major sporting events such as the unprecedented hosting of
Cricket World Cup 2007 in the Caribbean, of which Saint Lucia is an active
participant, you would appreciate that whilst I cannot discuss details or
specific particulars of Saint Lucia’s National Security Plan already
developed and submitted to the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security
(IMPACS) of CARICOM I can tell you however, that continuous risk assessments
are being undertaken, and the National Security Committee which I have
established to coordinate and deal with, among other things, issues
requiring action and my attention and indeed, Cabinet’s attention is moving
in full gear.
My Ministry, along with Senior Police Officials in particular, have just
last month, met with senior officials of the Implementation Agency for Crime
and Security (IMPACS) of CARICOM to scrutinize the several elements and
parameters of our National Security Plan to ensure that all required
international standards prescribed are met.
In addition to
the annual recruitment of new police officers which I spoke about earlier,
an additional (150) new Special Police Constables are shortly to commence
recruitment training on October 22, this year to provide support to our
regular police officers, during Cricket World Cup 2007 to be held here in
March next year.
I should also
mention that an entire new look is being given to the Royal Saint Lucia
Police Force in terms of: -
Systems, which will include its Personnel, Human Resource Development,
Training and Promotions Functions,
processes and related Protocols, its Standard Operating Procedures and
Functional Operations, across all Police Stations and Operating Units
islandwide, as well as significantly improving the working conditions of
our Police Officers.
process is currently on-going and the Police Officers themselves, across
all ranks are anxious for this new ethos; after decades of outright
neglect, disrespect and a practice of indignity towards Police Officers.
of (10) British Police Officers (not retirees) but Officers currently on
active duty, have recently been selected out of a total of (40) applicants,
to work alongside our Police Officers at all levels, to provide much needed
enhancement, strengthening and positive impact on our communities in the
fight against crime.
officers will be required to provide (hands-on-operational) policing
functions and duties whilst at the same time; transfer much valuable
technical skills and competencies working side by side with our Police
Officers. The competencies of the (10) British police officers are
impressive and include among several others:
Prosecution and Reduction
o Intelligence Analysis
o Drug Interdiction
o Money Laundering
I should also
mention that our resident British High Commissioner, His Excellency Mr.
Kelvin Green, is a member of the Sector Committee on Security, for Cricket
There are a
myriad of major action plans currently being implemented in the fight
against crime and the provision of Security, but in the interest of time,
I have sought
to present to you, a summary, of key initiatives, so that you can have an
appreciation of where we are going on the area of Security, Crime
Prevention, Abatement and Detection both in terms of the protection of our
own citizens and visitors and their properties.
In closing, Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish again to emphasize, that given the
level of new investment capital injected into the Tourism and Hotel Sector
over the past (9) years in particular, the contribution of the sector to the
Gross Domestic Product of our Country, and its upliftment of the livelihoods
and standards of living of our people; and notwithstanding our financial and
other constraints, we are determined and will as a Government, implement,
initiate and effect everything within our powers to ensure that Saint Lucia
remains safe and sound.
I wish also to
take this opportunity to thank most sincerely the organization of American
States, our own Ambassador to the OAS, Her Excellency Ms. Sonia Johnny, Ms.
Hayda Walker, the Representative of OAS CICTE, present here with us this
morning, the Resident Executive Director of the OAS here in Saint Lucia, Mr.
Paul Spencer and the Ministry of Tourism for their dynamic role in
facilitating this timely and particularly valuable workshop, and our
specially invited guests who are here with us.
I wish to extend my own personal welcome to the officials who will be attending
this workshop over the next few days, especially those who have traveled from
Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for your kind attention.