By LR Liburd
The St. Kitts-Nevis Observer
Complaints have reached The Observer about the deplorable state of the Newcastle Police Station in Nevis and the unhealthy conditions under which officers have to work and live.
In an effort to sensitise the public on the plight of the men and women based at that station, a concerned citizen thought it best to provide some invaluable information to this media house, which was confirmed by a number of serving and retired police officers.
The concerned citizen claimed that “the situation at the station is very vexing” and referred to the many comments made over the years by persons who visited the station and had observed the deplorable living conditions, which to date have not been addressed by past and current governments.
“Successive governments had engaged engineers to do studies on the building, all of whom came back with the same conclusion that it is dangerous for human habitation…however, the officers seem not to be human,” the concerned citizen lamented.
The station is housed in a prefab steel building, which is said to have been constructed more than five decades ago, and the officers are exposed to serious health risks by the presence of asbestos.
Also, the roof is so structured that efforts cannot be made to rid the building of the many bats, rats and other crawling and flying insects that have made it their sanctuary.
Complaints were also made about the possibility of electrocution whenever the rain falls because of alleged faulty fixtures and fittings, while the upper storey of the building had to be abandoned because of these unsolved issues.
The concerned citizen said, “Nobody cares, not the Commissioners or the government…nobody! I am therefore calling on Mr. Harris, Mr. Amory, Mr. Douglas, Mr. Parry, Dr. Martin, Mr. Queeley, Mr. Brandy, Mr. James, Mr. Mitchell and Ms. Hughes to do whatever needs to be done to preserve the health and save the lives of these hard working officers of the Newcastle Police Station.”
The concerned citizen, in collaboration with a few officers, made reference to the Hon. Mark Brantley’s presentation in Parliament during the 2009 Budget Debate on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 when he claimed that the Labour Party Government was neglecting Nevis.
At that sitting, Brantley said, “I am here today to say to the government that you continue to ignore Nevis at your peril. The policemen and women in Cotton Ground and in Newcastle need relief. The Fire and Rescue services need relief. Their condition is deplorable Mr. Speaker. When we were last here for the budget debate over one year ago, the Honourable member for the NRP stood in this House and told the Labour Government that Nevis needed nothing and that the NRP in Nevis will pay for all that was required. I believe my good friend misspoke Mr. Speaker, and I remind the government again of its constitutional responsibility for security. We Nevisians do not come to this House cap in hand like mendicants. No Mr. Speaker, we come as equal citizens in this country and demand that our security be taken seriously by the Federal Government.”
The concerned citizen pointed out that Brantley, who was the Leader of the Opposition at that time, was the most vocal politician on crime and had on many occasions claimed to have the solution.
“Since the CCM had won the Local Election and together with PAM and the PLP won the Federal Elections last year, it seems as if Mr. Brantley has thrown away his book on solution to violent crimes and has forgotten about the plight of the officers, especially those at the Newcastle Police Station.
“You cannot be blaming a previous administration for not doing what is right and when you are in office you are doing the same thing. I would therefore like Mr. Brantley and all the others who have the authority to rectify the depressing situation to make public their intentions,” the concerned citizen said.
In an invited comment on the situation at the Newcastle Police Station, Deputy Commissioner of Police Hilroy Brandy told The Observer that he knows of the issues.
“This is not something new! I have known about it for quite some time and all that I can tell you at this time is that the matter is under consideration.”