By Colin O. John, Commissioner of Police
Christmas is, indeed, a time for celebration and festivities here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Chief among the reasons for celebrating this joyous occasion is that Christians acknowledge the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ. The Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) extends season’s greetings to all the people of our blessed land.
As an organisation, we have cause to celebrate as we have received a great deal of gifts and positive results throughout 2019. Crimes have decreased overall by 32% in 2018 and 19% in 2019, murders have decreased by 44%.
Additionally, the solving rate for murder has increased from 34.4% in 2018 to 52.63% in 2019. This can be attributed to the hard work of the officers, the proactive policing produced by the organisation, the increase in resources by the Government and our good friends, locally, regionally and internationally, increased and improved training and the unwavering support, continuous guidance and collaboration of the public.
We have been the recipient of eight SUV and two motorcycles from the Republic of China on Taiwan. Several fire trucks, two from the Consolidated Fund and two from our foreign friends. These donations were as a result of our robust foreign policy and deliberate effort of our consulates and Missions in the diaspora.
Our organisation can boast of many success stories in 2019 amidst our challenges. The Police Youth Clubs were triumphant in the inter-college football, netball, basketball competitions and the Otis Jack Inaugural Cup. This programme is a deliberate and proactive plan all in the effort of preventative policing. One female police officer competed and placed first runner-up in the Miss St. Vincent and the Grenadines Beauty Pageant 2019.
On Nov. 25, 2019, the organisation officially launched the Police Records Management Information System (PRMIS) under the CARISECURE Project. There are several practical benefits that will be derived from this initiative. Chiefly among these are: it will improve efficiency; allows citizens the opportunity to provide more detailed and accurate information which will facilitate a more thorough investigations of cases; it will make citizens part of the crime-fighting brigade; and it will strengthen our local and regional response to combat transnational organized crime. This innovative tool kit will help the organization to more adequately divert its resources where it is most needed.
The Police Force is made up of very loyal, hard-working and committed men and women. As Commissioner of Police, I am using this opportunity to say thanks to the deputy commissioner of police, the assistant commissioners, superintendents, assistant superintendents, inspectors, station sergeants, sergeant, corporals, constables, all members of the Fire Department, Coast Guard, Auxiliaries, Tourist Police, Traffic Warden and Rural Constables. Your support throughout 2019 is greatly appreciated. Our noble organisation has also benefited from relevant and timely training from Local, Regional and International bodies to whom we are grateful.
Fellow Vincentians, as Commissioner of Police it will be remiss of me not to offer you some advice that would assist in making the festive season safer.
While there has been a general reduction in crimes, we have seen the statistics in road fatality remaining constant when compared to 2018. There were four fatalities in both years. I am encouraging persons to pay more attention when driving and to have more consideration for other road users. Do not drink and drive or unduly indulge in alcohol.
I wish to also encourage you not to make yourselves easy targets for criminals. Ensure that your homes and properties are properly secured. Look out for your neighbours, especially the elderly and vulnerable because “your neighbour’s business can be your business too”.
To all of our partners and stakeholders including the private and public sector, NGOs, government ministries, friends, well-wishers and members of the general public; a heartfelt thank you for your assistance, support, partnership, guidance and courtesies during the year.
As we celebrate this joyous occasion, I encourage you to find some time to evoke a smile on the face of a child and the needy in the best way you can. Whatever little you do to evoke that smile can make a lasting impression on that child, not just for Christmas but for years to come.
This is a season when the best of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is exhibited, continue to give love at Christmas, before and beyond. Take time to build, rebuild and rekindle friendships it might mean the world to some recipient.
As we accentuate the positives, let us do everything to ensure that we have a more prosperous and proactive 2020 vision.
A Merry and a Joyous Christmas to All!!
The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].