(Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister)
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — With an unprecedented increase in budgetary support and the implementation of community-based social intervention programmes, Premier of Nevis and Member for Nevis 9, the Honourable Mark Brantley said the Team Unity administration’s record of support to law enforcement speaks for itself, and noted that “no government in the history of this country has taken the issue of crime and security more seriously than this government.”
Minister Brantley was at the time giving his support to the Police (Amendment) Bill, 2018, which was successfully passed through the Federal Parliament on Sept. 9.
“Here we are today debating a simple Bill but a necessary Bill. One of the provisions of that Bill, the first substantive provision, in Section 3…seeks to improve the conditions of the police,” the Premier said. “It seeks to say to the police that you should be treated no differently than other public servants in the sense of being able to carry on your career a bit longer; it gives for most police officers who are able and fit and who satisfy the requirements of the statute an additional five years potentially of their service and that is good news for the police.”
An amendment of Section 24 makes provisions for non-gazetted police officers with critical skills, and a desire to continue serving the public after the retirement age of 55 years, to do so with the approval of the competent authorities.
“We can’t expect of the police Mr. Speaker that they will give of their best if we as a government are not prepared to support them and I am here to say that no government in the history of this country has supported the police as much as this government,” Minister Brantley added, while stating that there is evidence to support his statements.
One such piece of evidence is the year-on-year record increases in the budgetary allocation for the Ministry of National Security by the Team Unity administration.
The honourable minister continued: “Some may say it is not only about the amount of money and that is true. But that money was used to invest and as all of us who from time to time invest, we know that investments sometimes take time to yield results; investments sometime take time to pay dividends but in order to get dividends Mr. Speaker one must invest, and we have invested year after year, more and more [in] record amounts in our security infrastructure for our country.”
Additionally, Minister Brantley pointed to the 20 percent increase in risk pay for members of the security forces, which was provided two years ago in the 2016 Budget. He said, “In addition to police officers, risk pay is currently paid to members of the SKN Defence Force including the Coast Guard Unit, Her Majesty’s Prison and the St. Kitts and Nevis Fire and Rescue Services.”
Moreover, in July of this year, the Team Unity administration initiated a 40 percent increase in the displacement allowances and a 50 percent increase in the ferry allowances for law enforcement personnel who travel between the islands for work.