Former Police Chief responds to new immigration plan

Former Police Chief, Cuthbert Phillips, has been giving his views on a plan announced recently by Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, to hand over immigration duties to Customs Officers.

Chastanet had told the Times that the move would free up some one hundred police officers to be on the beat fighting crime.

The Prime Minister expressed the hope that the move could be effected by Christmas.

“In the case of Customs Officers I guess he is trying to reduce cost since you already have the Customs Officers available,” Cuthbert Phillips told the Times.

However he said:

“I don’t see the cost because even if you are going to do that you still have to recruit new Customs Officers, because some will have to do Customs duties while others will have to deal with immigration matters.”

The former Police Chief recalled that at one time there was a suggestion that civilians do immigration duties.

But Phillips noted that should such a move be considered, the cost and security implications will have to be borne in mind.

“I take it that anything that will be done will be properly researched looking at the cost and the security aspect of it,” he told the Times.

Phillips asserted that the small Islands of the Caribbean should not be too quick to implement certain measures that are in place in the bigger countries.

He suggested that there could be a two tier system in the immigration department, incorporating  both the Police Special Branch and immigration.

Phillips observed that the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) is already “a bit strained.”

“There are some policemen when you look at them on beat and patrol – some of them are not as effective as they should be on their feet. They are not of the age to retire and really and truly medically you cannot retire them,” the former Police Commissioner told the Times.

He suggested that such members of the RSLPF can be assigned to immigration duties, rather than using the young, fit officers who should be on beat and patrol and doing investigations.

“Put them out there and put the older guys as Immigration Officers,” Phillips proposed.


  1. Concern
    October 6, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Mr Curthbert , we do have enough customs officers to do the job. How about those officers who are just there getting our tax payers money and doing nothing? Trust me there are enough customs officers to do the job. Everything this present government is trying to do you all trying to put them down. Unless we try we wont succeed .

    1. Jeb
      October 6, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      I agree. There are more than enough customs officials to do the job.

    2. Anonymous
      October 6, 2016 at 8:59 pm

      Don’t be idiot’s. Check the laws of the land on immigration . Hope those custom officers are properly trained in investigation and criminal procedure. Mr. Philips knows what he is talking about. Chastenet is mad.

  2. Diane
    October 6, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Good point. Get them fighting crime and forget this 6 officers driving around in one truck.

  3. Anonymous
    October 6, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    I am guessing now that they will have to pay customs over time when Liat is forver late. So that will be more money spending to pay customs. When the police at immigration work over time with no extra pay. Happy customs officers for Christmas lol

    1. Jeb
      October 6, 2016 at 1:36 pm

      The overtime is at the expense of LIAT and not the tax payers of this country. So if LIAT wants to reduce its cost then it will make a concerted effort to be on time

  4. Anonymous
    October 7, 2016 at 1:47 am

    The police will be more than happy to part with immigration. Chas will see that the transition is not as easy as he thinks. Where is the legislative arrangements to go with this change. Good luck