Crime fighting and public monitoring in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) went high-tech with the inauguration, on Tuesday, of the Taiwan-sponsored E-Bus and Security Operation Centre, located at the Questelles Police Station.
Commissioner of Police, Colin John, welcomed the development, saying, “I am very proud and today is a happy day for me.”
He said he now has “an important piece of tool in the police arsenal so that we can fight crime. We also have trained persons who can handle this piece of tool and who can assist in making St. Vincent and the Grenadines a safer place.”
The Intelligent Bus Management and Monitoring System Project, aims to assisting SVG in enhancing surveillance in public areas to ensure public safety through advanced technology.
The project also includes the installation, so far, of more than 100 full HD cameras in Kingstown and on the leeward side of St. Vincent and the intelligent video surveillance system.
Before the end of this year, camera settings on the windward side of St. Vincent will be completed and will bring the number of cameras to 200.
The smart bus dynamic information system and smart bus stop with Taiwan’s latest e-paper technology will follow right after, Taiwan Ambassador to SVG, Calvin Ho told Tuesday’s event.
Meanwhile, John said there are several advantages to be derived from the initiative.
“The fact that cameras are placed at several locations throughout St. Vincen and soon will be in the Grenadines, that will help to deter would-be criminals from committing crimes.”
He said that the system was also monitoring mechanism for the police force.
“So we can divert our resources to quote-unquote hotspots or areas where activities are taking place, for instance at carnival times or time when there ere events of mass gatherings.
“The persons who are observing the cameras can observe what’s taking place from a particular room so we will be able to divert our resources to deal with situations where they arise,” John said.
The police chief said that the force will also be able to collect t cogent evidence.
He noted that Director of Public Prosecutions, Sejilla McDowall was at the event, adding that information collected by the surveillance system could be tendered as evidence in court.
“This will enhance our chances of gaining more convictions, enhance our chances of presenting better evidence to the court,” said John, a former Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions.
“This will also help in the decision making of the court so that with the cogent evidence, the tribunal would be able to make a better decision when deciding on a matter.”
He said that another advantage is the ability to record data and have it stored for future reference.
“This project is the latest in the collaborative effort between the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines [Police Force] and the Embassy of [the Republic of] China on Taiwan in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” John said.
He said that other initiatives include the apprenticeship programmes, in collaboration with the Ministry of National Mobilisation, where persons are trained under the YES Programme.
“These persons were trained at the Police Band Room. To date, we have about 25 persons who have graduated and who have become full-fledged police officer. That’s a win-win situation between the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Government of China on Taiwan,” the police chief said, adding that 30 persons are currently enrolled in the programme.
He said that last year, the police force benefited from eight SUVs, donated by Taiwan, that are helping in crime fighting.
“Currently, there are two motorcycles at the Customs to be cleared. They were also donated by the Government of the Republic of China on Taiwan,” he said, adding that Taiwan has also sponsored the police children’s Christmas party.
“We have also received valuable training from the Republic of China on Taiwan, both locally and internationally. Several of our senior officers have gone to the Republic of China on Taiwan for training an that has redounded to the benefit of the organisation and the benefit of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” John said.
“So, I just want to say thanks to the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for having the vision to chose the Republic of China on Taiwan as a partner. We have received practical benefit as a result of it and we, as the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force. We look forward for the continued cooperation between the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Government of China and Taiwan.
“As Commissioner of Police, I can assure you that this piece of tool can be effectively utilised so that we, the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force and the police, can make sure that St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a safer place as a result of this initiative,” he said.
And, Ambassador Ho he was proud to join with Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves to launch E-Bus and Security Operation centre.
“This centre is not only a symbol of high-tech cooperation between the Governments of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but also a new page in St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ ICT development.
“The project reflects Taiwan’s continuous efforts to assist our diplomatic allies on the economic and social development. Taiwan government promises to continue using our experiences to assist St. Vincent and the Grenadines on becoming a Smart City, E-government, and to improve the governmental services,” the envoy said.
“I am confident that this project will bring huge positive impacts and fruitful results, and look forward to further cooperation between our two nations.”