RSS Chairman justifies St. Kitts and Nevis deployment

Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and RSS Chairman, Dr. Hon. Ralph Gonsalves
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BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – False information being purported in the media by Opposition supporters surrounding the deployment of Regional Security System (RSS) Forces to St. Kitts and Nevis has been rejected by Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Honourable Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, RSS Chairman.

While addressing members of the press in Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines following the 66th of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Authority, Prime Minister Gonsalves said there are regulations as it relates to the activation of the RSS, in accordance with the Regional Security System Act that exists in each of the independent Member States of the OECS and Barbados.

“When a government makes a request under the Act, the request comes to the Chairman and also goes to the Secretariat at the RSS,” Prime Minister Gonsalves explained. “What happens [is that] an assessment is made upon the request tendered – in this case a request tendered by the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis –and I am then advised, as the Chairman, that the circumstances exist under which the RSS police officers or, if the case may be, soldiers can be mobilized under the law.”

Dr. Gonsalves said after the RSS professionals agree that the request is legitimate and is one that should be honoured, it then becomes a matter as to how many officers or soldiers each of the participating territories can reasonably contribute to the force under the leadership of the RSS.

“It doesn’t happen capriciously; it is not a favour done for Timothy Harris. There is a law, there are rules, there are regulations and the professionals make the assessment,” the RSS Chairman stated.

Dr. Gonsalves said he felt compelled to respond on this matter after reading many commentaries and articles published online with inaccurate information.

“All people have to do is go and look at the RSS Act, but very often in the Caribbean people talk about these things without understanding the framework within which we act,” the St. Vincent and Grenadines Prime Minister added.

Opposition Leader, Dr. Denzil Douglas was recently chastised by Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris for yet another unpatriotic action after it was revealed he had written to the OECS protesting the deployment of RSS forces to St. Kitts and Nevis.

The letter dated Oct. 9 addressed to Chairman of the OECS Authority, Dr. the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves, Dr. Douglas sought to gain the regional body’s support in his attempt to prevent assistance from the RSS to beef up the overall security operations in the country.

Prime Minister Harris, while speaking on the Oct. 12 edition of the People’s Voice radio programme on Sugar City FM, said he finds it difficult to fathom any right-thinking resident or citizen would stand against the prospect of having an increased security presence in St. Kitts and Nevis.

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