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Police Constable Steaven Derby. (IWN photo)
Police Constable Steaven Derby. (IWN photo)
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The head of this country’s emergency management agency has recommended a promotion for a Police Constable Steaven Derby, who managed an emergency shelter for almost 18 months after the December 2013 Christmas floods and landslide.

“We can’t close this chapter unless we acknowledge the work that was done by policeman Derby,” Director of the National Emergency Management Organisation, Howie Prince told an event in Hope, Penniston, where five houses were handed over to the occupants of the last emergency shelter to close after the disaster.

The shelter, located at Rillan Hill, housed mainly former residents of Buccament Bay whose homes were destroyed by the natural disaster.


“This is a young gentleman, a young police officer, who, when the event took place in Buccament, he went there and volunteered, started helping the people in the shelter,” said Prince, who called Derby onto the platform.

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“When we saw the work that he was doing, we didn’t even bother to send the normal quote-unquote shelter management crew. We left it with Derby,” Prince said.

He said Derby was also selected to manage the shelter when the persons displaced by the trough system where transferred from the Buccament Bay Secondary School to the Rillan Hill Community Centre.

The centre had been renovated sometime before the severe weather event to become “a proper hurricane centre,” Prince said.

“While they were at that shelter, Derby took charge and he was the shelter manager for the entire period,” Prince said.

He said that shelters are difficult places to manage as the different households “bring with them all their social situations, all their habits, and everything that comes with human being…

“You can imagine, therefore, the problem that Derby, as shelter manager, had to manage in that situation,” Prince said.

“And, as far as I can tell, it has not been entirely smooth, but Derby has been able to keep things together all this time,” he said.

Director of NEMO, Howie Prince, left, and Police Constable Steaven Derby. (IWN photo)
Director of NEMO, Howie Prince, left, and Police Constable Steaven Derby. (IWN photo)

Prince said that none of the cooks that NEMO provided for the shelter lasted any period of time because of various complaints by the occupants.

“Eventually, Derby had to take over the cheffing. So he was shelter manager; he was more than chief cook and bottle washer; he was janitor; he did everything for all these people.

“He was father, mother, counsellor and policeman, because, sometimes, he had to use his policeman hat and tell the people, ‘If you don’t behave yourself, I will lock you up.’

“So we are glad that we were able to have a man like Derby at the helm of managing the centre, and, today, as we get ready to close that centre, NEMO and the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines would like to highly commend Derby for the work he has done,” Prince said.

He told the gathering that he had had discussions with Commissioner of Police Michael Charles about a promotion for Derby, who remains a constable after more than a decade as a police officer.

“I am certainly going to have the same discussion with the Prime Minister, that since Derby has been absent from the Police Force and doing such excellent work, this is a man who more than deserves a promotion,” Prince said, adding that he had the support of the Cabinet members at the ceremony.

Prince said he had also discussed with the police chief sending Derby on one month’s vacation now that the emergency shelter is closed.

“Our government is a benevolent one. It rewards people for hard work. I believe that, I’ve seen that and I believe I can rely very heavily on Cabinet members who are here and the Commissioner of Police, with whom I have had a long discussion, and certainly with our Honourable Prime Minister to consider the work that Derby has done in considering him for greater things, whether in the police Force or elsewhere,” he said.

4 replies on “Promotion recommended for cop who managed emergency shelter for months”

  1. C. ben-David says:

    Talk about living off the fat of the land. Was there really any food left to feed the shelter victims?

    Some of these cops should be forced to go on a diet … or else go into the catering business full time … or maybe not. There wouldn’t be anything left over to sell!

    No joke, people, police often have to give chase to, wrestle with, or subdue suspects and prisoners. This guy is a walking heart attack.

    What a poor excuse of a police force we have!


    Please also note Kenton that the correct, historical, original spelling is “Rilland Hill” not “Rillan Hill,” as the roadside sign says and as our patois pronunciation suggests.

    Most of our town, village, and neighbourhood names are of French or British origin. Many of the latter were named by the early English settlers/slavemasters after places in England they were reminded of when they first saw the local landscape. For example, there is a place in England called Rilland, which no doubt is how its namesake in SVG came about.

  2. TeacherFang says:

    I am not sure if I support this recommendation. This is a Police Officer, right? WTF is he doing in an emergency shelter other than to maintain law and order?

    I don’t understand how we do things in Vincyland…so what happen to the workers whose job is to provide assistance in these emergency shelters? Are they getting paid to sit down on their asses? Why is this fool cooking and cleaning? Really? And when Howie says, he was “absent” from the police force, what is he talking about? Was this guy officially assigned to the Emergency Shelter by his superiors, or did he just take it upon himself to go to this shelter? I am confused as to how this situation came about. And this notion of some f@#$ing Civil Servant suggesting to the Police Commissioner and Prime Minister to promote a Police officer is preposterous in of itself but given on what basis such promotion should be given is galling to say the least. Is Howie Prince shagging the PC and the PM, to be so bold in making such public utterances?

    Now if he is a volunteering on his time, well good for him…but don’t tell me, he must be promoted for this…really, hell no! Look, I am all for lending a hand and being Mother Theresa but don’t expect any rewards other than, A THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU. I am just saying.

  3. Let’s give him Vincent Beache’s job. I am a little worried because he looks anorexic.

    It’s not just having a good heart that gives a policeman the opportunity for promotion.

    It’s time in the profession and ability to pass exams to move him up in the grades. So suggesting he gets promotion may be a little unkind if he cannot make the grade.

  4. Notwithstanding the good points on merit for promotion and perhaps inappropriateness of Prince making such a statement, why do ‘intelligent’ people need to use profanity, derogatory remarks, and attacks on a person’s weight/looks/health to make a point? What kind of person behaves this way? Come on guys, let’s apply critical analyses respectfully, professionally, and constructively. Peace!

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