By L.K. Hewlett
St. Kitts Reporter
Security personnel from neighbouring territories have already begun to arrive in St. Kitts to assist local security forces as they prepare for Cricket World Cup 2007.
Police and soldiers from Antigua and Jamaica will be making the rounds and familiarising themselves with St. Kitts and especially the immediate areas surrounding the venue stadium.
Commander of the Defence Force Colonel Patrick Wallace said that because of the size of our security forces, St. Kitts, like many of the other OECS states, could not hope to police the event and still deal with regular security issues.
“In this regard, the wider CariCom will be assisting us. We have some members of the Jamaica Defence Force and some police officers from Antigua and Dominica coming to St. Kitts along with coast guard personnel to assist us,” Wallace said. He also assured the citizens that local security forces would continue to maintain law and order despite having to police the event.
The foreign security contingent will be given the same authoritative powers as local police including the power to arrest. A senior police official said that if any infractions occurred local police would take the lead since the visiting officers would not be deployed without being accompanied by their local counterparts.
The officer said that when the St. Kitts leg of the competition was over, local law enforcement personnel would be also be travelling to other islands including Antigua and Grenada to assist with their security for the CWC matches.
Commissioner of Police Robert Jeffers said the security forces are prepared for any challenges which may arise during the CWC matches. He also solicited the public’s cooperation and understanding for the temporary security and traffic arrangements and contingency plans, which he said he knew were causing some concern.
“The ICC has a 2 mile radius of ‘no traffic’ wherever matches are being played. If that were to happen in St. Kitts we would have to close off the whole of Basseterre so we had to go to the next best situation and limit the restrictions to just the immediate areas around the stadium. Things have been put in place for residents in the restrictive zones to be permitted into their homes such as special passes. This is not an everyday inconvenience, just on match days so we hope persons will understand and co-operate,” Jeffers said.
Cayon and Central Streets will be converted to one-way streets from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. on match days with traffic flowing only westward. Strict parking restrictions will be enforced leaving motorists to park at secured designated areas.