Photo: Commissioner of Police Ian Queeley and members of the Police High Command
Ministry of National Security reinstates activities to recognize staff, boost morale
By Valencia Grant, press secretary to the prime minister of St. Kitts and Nevis
Basseterre, St. Kitts – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris declared Police Week 2017 officially open during the “Police Awards Ceremony in Recognition of Long Service and Good Conduct,” which was held at Government House last Saturday night.
The week of activities was reintroduced in October 2016 after a noticeable absence for several years. The police awards ceremony was also reintroduced last year after being inactive for eight years.
Saturday’s event was the third such awards ceremony held under the present Police High Command. Prime Minister Harris announced the new makeup of the Police High Command during a radio and television national address Feb. 9, 2016.
Three months later, the reinstated police awards ceremony was held May 12, 2016, at Government House under the patronage of Governor-General His Excellency Sir S.W. Tapley Seaton GCMG, CVO, QC, JP. It recognized close to 30 awardees who had served continuously in the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force for at least 18 years. More than 30 awardees were recognized during the next police awards ceremony held at the Ocean Terrace Inn on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, under the patronage of the governor-general.
“I understand that the last time that such an event as this one was held was way back in 2008, perhaps too long a time,” Prime Minister Harris said at the police awards ceremony last year, adding: “So I am delighted that as a consequence of the implementation of the 2016-2019 Police Strategic Plan and, more specifically, the Service Improvement Plan that we have arrived at a point today where we can publicly share some of its underpinning values, which include (i) to retain and motivate staff, (ii) to provide rewards and recognition, and (iii) to have a developed recognition program for member longevity, and enhance use of quality time by recognizing exceptional employee performance through an enhanced police awards program.”
Harris, who is St. Kitts and Nevis’ minister of national security, also stated back in May 2016: “This Long Service and Good Conduct Medal Awards Ceremony is therefore just one of a number of such events that will continue to unfold over the months and years ahead, and that the police, the Ministry of National Security and, by extension, this Unity government will implement to motivate and improve the morale of all ranks within the police force.”
Five months later, in October 2016, Police Week was reintroduced.
Fast-forward to Saturday, the Commissioner of Police Ian Queeley addressed the large audience at the awards ceremony, saying: “Police Week is a week of celebration of our profession; a time when we do some introspection. We reflect on the challenges that we face and we highlight our work within the law enforcement community and the public we serve. It also allows for us to come together to socialize and strengthen our eternal bonds through the many and varied activities that have been planned to mark this occasion. …Why not? Why shouldn’t we celebrate? We should celebrate!”
Commissioner Queeley stated that the Police High Command deems the awards ceremony to be “very timely and critical.” He added that, when it comes to awarding police officers, “this practice is nothing new. It dates back to 1971 when an Act of Parliament saw it fit to reward and recognize members of the police force through this particular exercise.”
Speaking last Saturday night, the Commissioner of Police noted that, “Of the [60-plus] officers whom we will be saluting this evening…this has brought us very close to erasing the backlog over the years,” adding: “By the time this event [the police awards ceremony] comes around next year, we will be on par or current. Those of us here would know that when we took up office there was a tremendous backlog in terms of distributing awards.”
He further noted that “this High Command believes that it is very necessary to reward and recognize persons for the job that they are doing. So when we come back here next year, we would be up-to-date in terms of issuing the Medals for Long Service and Good Conduct.”