PM Harris: New national security adviser ‘highly qualified, recommended’

From the press unit in the Office of the Prime Minister


BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – The prime minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris, says retired Maj. Gen. Stewart Saunders, who hails from Jamaica, comes to the position as national security adviser “eminently recommended at the regional level and highly qualified.”

The appointment of Saunders to the post followed a vigorous recruitment process that commenced in November 2016. Harris noted that in its efforts to fill the post, the government reached out to the wider Caribbean region for support and assistance “and in this regard, we consulted with the Regional Security System (RSS) and the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), as well as with our missions overseas in encouraging suitable, experienced and qualified individuals to apply,” he said.

Following a series of interviews by a selection panel, the Saunders was identified as “the most suitable candidate to fill the position.” He is a strategic security practitioner and educator with more than 40 years of experience at the tactical, operational and strategic levels, Harris said. “He has a wealth of experience in the management of natural and man-made disasters, crime management, public safety and security, crisis management, security and risk assessments.

“We feel, on this side of the House, that we have an excellent choice in [this appointment],” Harris said during the July 11 sitting of the National Assembly. He said that “while the paperwork and practical experience of Saunders is well documented, the St. Kitts and Nevis government required the necessary recommendations to complete the process,” adding “We went to the government [of Jamaica] to find out its views. The cabinet secretary of the current administration responded and indicated that we had an excellent find in this gentleman. So, he has the support of the incumbent administration. The chief of staff of the Jamaica Defence Force gave a sterling recommendation of this gentleman and the University of the West Indies’ academic director, Dr. Hilton McDavid, who is in charge of the master’s in National Security and Strategic Studies programme, also gave him an excellent recommendation.”

In his new role, Saunders will, among other things, contribute to the formulation of national security policies; serve on any committee, commission, board or authority that deals with issues of national security at the direction of the prime minister; be responsible for gathering and collating information and intelligence on national security matters; collaborate with local, regional and international agencies involved in intelligence gathering and analysis; 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. Kitts and Nevis; and be 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 their implementation of the National Defence Council’s policies relating to national security.

As a military professional, Saunders achieved his highest rank, major general, and retired as chief of defence staff of the Jamaica Defence Force in October 2010. He was appointed senior consultant/adviser in National Security matters in 2012 and later, permanent secretary in the Ministry of National Security.