Prime Minister Dr. Harris inspects Platoon No. 6 of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force at Independence Ceremonial Parade.

(Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister)

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts –- Top honours went to Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force (RSCNPF) recruits and the Customs and Excise Department took top honours for displaying discipline and uniformity during the 35th Independence Day Parade at the Warner Park Cricket Stadium on Sept. 19.
The parade, one of the most highly anticipated events on St. Kitts and Nevis’ annual Independence calendar of activities, saw the largest turnout of armed and unarmed units march in front of a huge and appreciative crowd.

At the end of the marvellous display by all units on parade, Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, announced the young RSCNPF recruits from Platoon No. 6 were the Best Armed Body on display during the parade, while the Customs and Excise Department was recognized as the Best Unarmed Body.

The parade included armed units of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force, the St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force, Coast Guard and Cadet Corps and the unarmed units from the Customs and Excise Department, Girl Guides and Brownies, the Boy’s Brigade, Pathfinders and the Explorers Youth Clubs.

While making his annual Toast to the Nation at the Defence Force Headquarters at Camp Springfield, Prime Minister Harris congratulated all the participating units on “what has been described as one of the best parades we have had since Independence 1983.”

“I want to commend the excellence and the precision which were displayed this morning [September 19] by armed bodies and unarmed bodies. Today has been a wonderful day, and the spirit of nation building lives on,” said Dr. Harris.

The prime minister continued, “I want to commend all the young persons who took part in the parade, in particular, the largest body which was the Explorers group attached to the Ministry of National Security. I gather there were some 300 strong and we commend them. We look to the future with hope; we look to the future knowing that the future must be better than the past.”

Also on display at the Independence ceremony parade this year were the Honour Guards from the Taiwan Arm Forces.

Prime Minister Harris extended special appreciation to what he described as “the largest representation of visiting dignitaries” for St. Kitts and Nevis Independence celebrations.

Police Commandant Proud

Inspector Eldrin Dickenson, Commandant of the Police Training Complex, said he was extremely proud, of the efforts of the recruits of Course 42, who practiced three times per day for the past five weeks.

“I felt good,” he said, recounting the announcement after the parade. “I spoke to them and I told them I felt happy and I hope that they understand what the hard work pays off for.”

Their performance is even more impressive, given that the other armed platoons on parade were made up of soldiers from the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force, the Coast Guard Unit, and the RSCNPF. The decision by Commissioner of Police, Ian Queeley, to have a third platoon of officers during the parade marked the fourth time that police recruits were featured at an Independence parade. The last time was Course 37, who participated in 2010.

Several of the 23 recruits that were on parade are no strangers to marching in public. On Aug. 3, a contingent of recruits paraded through the streets with young participants from the 2nd Annual Ministry of National Security/RSCNPF Explorers Group Annual Summer Camp.

Inspector Dickenson said earning the title of Best Armed Unit at the 35th Independence Day Parade will help to improve the confidence of the members of Course 42.

“I think that the performance will have them do even better. They are doing very well in class right now but I believe that those who are below can still make a better effort in reaching further with their grades to be able to be successful to the end of the course,” the Commandant of the Police Training Complex stated.

The men and women are expected to graduate in December 2018.