Harris: Role of national security adviser ‘clearly distinct’ from other roles

From the press unit in the Office of the Prime Minister


BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – The Team Unity government, led by the prime minister, the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris, is of the firm view that the addition of retired Maj. Gen. Stewart Saunders as national security adviser will significantly complement the national security apparatus in St. Kitts and Nevis.

During last Tuesday’s sitting of the National Assembly, Harris stated clearly that the role of the national security adviser is “a very important and auspicious position in the national security structure of the federation” and one that further fulfills a requirement of law and the constitution of St. Kitts and Nevis.

The prime minister also stressed that the national security adviser is not a replacement for the High Command. “It is distinct from the role of the Commissioner of Police, the commander of our defence force, and it is distinct from the role of the permanent secretary,” Harris stated.

Harris, who is also the minister of national security, continued: “While close collaboration is required, this office provides added value to the functioning of the security system in our country. The office holder obviously should bring his expert knowledge and experience to bear on policy formulation and implementation.”

The prime minister noted that Saunders brings a number of competences to the post of national security adviser that few in the region and within the hemisphere could compete with. 

 “[He] will bring to St. Kitts and Nevis [more than] 40 years of distinguished public service dealing with crime at the operational, strategic and policy levels,” Harris said. “Second, the knowledge and experience in dealing with crime at the national, regional and international levels. Third, knowledge and experience in the development of critical legislation and policies to improve anti-crime efforts; he brings firsthand experience and knowledge of the transformation process of military and law enforcement organisations to ensure public safety; he brings advice on the unification of government ministries for the national security effort; he brings advice on human capital improvements through training, education and development courses.”

As national security adviser, Saunders will, among other things, contribute to the formulation of national security policies and serve on any committee, commission, board or authority that deals with issues of national security at the direction of the prime minister.

Furthermore, the retired major general will represent the government on the direction of the prime minister at national, regional and international meetings where the subject matter engages upon the security interest of St. Christopher and Nevis; he is responsible for gathering and collating information and intelligence on national security matters, collaborating as necessary as possible with local, regional and international agencies involved in intelligence gathering and analysis; he’s also responsible for gathering and presenting operational information and advising the National Defence Council on the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies in countering threats to national security and on the implementation of the policies of the National Defence Council.