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Rodney Small, chairman of the National Commission on Crime Prevention.
Rodney Small, chairman of the National Commission on Crime Prevention.

Vincentian pannist Rodney Small is the new director of the National Commission on Crime Prevention (NCCP).

He is among the new faces in the crime prevention apparatus in St. Vincent and the Grenadines at a time when there is a spike in violent crime, in particular homicides.

It had been rumoured for weeks that Small would become the new head of the NCCP.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, who is also Minister of National Security, announced Small’s appointment on radio on Sunday.

“Rodney Small has been appointed as the director of the NCCP. So, all these things are falling in place,” Gonsalves said after noting new changes, including a new permanent secretary, in the Ministry of National Security.

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According to the Ministry of National Security, the NCCP must deal with criminal offences committed by organised gangs; assist in cracking down on money laundering and the proceeds of crime; and, assist in speeding up and widening the process of extradition.

It also deals with protecting witnesses testifying against criminal groups; tightening co-operation to seek out and prosecute suspects; and strengthening crime prevention on the local level by encouraging the participation of the citizenry.

It also involves youth actively in the crime prevention process and, among other things, improves coordination among stakeholders in crime prevention.

The NCCP also deals with the problems of international trafficking in protected plant and animal species, cybercrime; and trafficking in illegal drugs.

Gonsalves said that as Sunday, there is a new acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of National Security.

“[Hudson] Nedd has reached retirement age and he has naturally demitted office and Luann Thomas, who was the head of the training division at the CPO’s (chief personnel officer) office has been appointed by the Public Service Commission as the acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of National Security,” the prime minister said.

“So, we see many important changes and I thank all those who have served and done very well in helping to keep us safe,” he said.

“Nicola Evans was at the NCCP. She has reached retirement age and I have had conversations with her since she has left and she is still very much interested in assisting. There is also a new deputy director, “a very experienced person who is working in the area of adult and continuing education,” Gonsalves said, without naming the person.

“So, you can see how all the pieces are being put in place.”

 On Saturday, Enville Williams, an assistant commissioner of police, was appointed to act as commissioner of police, replacing Colin John, who had proceeded on pre-retirement leaving, having obtained early retirement.

“And I want to congratulate him on his appointment. Similarly, on acting Commissioner of Police Bailey, popularly known as Buju, who has been named to head the crime division. That’s what I have been advised by the new commissioner. I want to congratulate him also. He is a superintendent,” Gonsalves said.

He said he was sure that there are other administrative changes that the new commissioner of police would make.

The prime minister said he met on Thursday Colin John, the then commissioner, as well as the deputy commissioner and the three assistant commissioners of police on the way forward.

He said he was meeting this Thursday with the leadership of the police force.

The prime minister said he had a breakfast meeting on Saturday with Williams and went through a number of issues and he has had conversations with Bailey, including how the investigation is proceeding with this last the murder last Friday of Charles Mc Intosh, 74, in Arnos Vale.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines has recorded 41 homicides, one shy of last year’s record-setting 42.

Correction: Rodney Small is the “Director” and not “Chairman” of the National Commission on Crime Prevention.