By Loshaun Dixon
Basseterre, St. Kitts-Former Commissioner of Police Austin Williams has mad a call to employ ordinary citizens to staff the Immigration department as opposed to using police officers due to the lack of man power in the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police force.
Mr. Williams told the Observer that while creating a department independent of the police force may be more efficient, it still could form part of the organization.
“It could be still attached to the police force but the police need the man power,” he said.
Williams said laws may have already been passed to separate the department from the police force but arrangements to fully enact it have been moving at snail’s pace.
“The regulation has been passed already to separate immigration from police but things move so slowly here that is the problem. That regulation has been in place for more than five years and no steps have been made towards it,” he added.
Williams noted that the police have been slowly employing civilians as immigration officers and will eventually get full separation sometime in the future.
He made a call for having civilians fully run the department and the removal of police officers to have them serve in other areas of the police force.
“It doesn’t really matter whichever way but it needs the resources to run it. As it is now they are using police officers and it takes away from their man power. But if you use civilians you can employ more people to run it,” he said.
In October, more than 100 immigrants, from Jamaica, Haiti, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, were targeted and held by immigration officials mostly made up of police officers on a Saturday evening, from multiple night spots in the Newtown area. They were hauled away by buses and warded at the nearby police training school.