Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, has announced plans for the creation of a Border Control entity in Saint Lucia.
Chastanet made the announcement Thursday at a ceremony during which the United States Embassy handed over equipment to the Crown Prosecutions Service.
Outlining measures to beef up the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF), the Prime Minister explained that the proposed Border Control entity will see the Customs and Excise Department absorbing immigration and the Marine Police.
“In essence we will become like the US and some other countries in having a Coast Guard rather than having a Marine Police station,” the Prime Minister said.
He asserted that border control will become an ‘absolute priority.’
The Prime Minister told the ceremony that he found it amazing when his government took office that none of the Island’s Coast Guard boats were functioning.
“The two radar systems that we had set up, neither one of them was working – it was almost as if there was a deliberate attempt to sabotage the safety of Saint Lucians,” Chastanet declared.
He said he was happy to report that two boats are currently in operation and another two are expected to be in operation very soon.
Chastanet revealed that the radar systems are not back 100 percent, but are well on their way there.
He said a few weeks ago the radar systems were very useful in helping this country to track people coming into Saint Lucia.
The Prime Minister disclosed that there is a plane that is based in Barbados that is shared, but Saint Lucia will explore introducing new equipment to assist this country in being more effective in controlling its borders.
“I am giving the assurances to Saint Lucians, I am also giving assurances to our neighbours that the days that Saint Lucia can be considered a low fence for drug lords to come here and to transport their goods through Saint Lucia on our planes or to Martinique, that is going to become much more difficult moving forward,” he declared.
Chastanet said he was very much looking forward to the support of the United States, the British, the Canadians and Europeans in assisting Saint Lucia to deliver on that promise.