Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, has expressed gratitude to members of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) for the work they have been doing over the years, under challenging conditions.
‘I know by the conditions I have seen your offices in – the conditions in which the state has asked you to perform your duties, that it would be very easy to think that you are forgotten and you are not important,’ Chastanet told a general meeting of the Police Welfare Association (PWA) Wednesday.
‘I clearly understand how you could come to that conclusion,’ he declared.
Chastanet said when he came in as prime minister he was shocked when an audit of the security and justice system was done.
He described the results as ‘just horrifying.’
The PM mentioned, among other things, that coast boats and the two radar systems were not working and the forensic lab was not functioning.
In addition, he explained that there was no DPP and the office of the DPP had been ‘depleted’, while court houses were ‘all over he place.’
‘More importantly, was the indignity in which police officers were being asked to perform,’ he told his audience at the CSA Centre, Sans Souci.
(Section of audience at C.S.A Centre)
Chastanet recalled that his wife had taken up the cause of the police and the fire service.
‘Other than the police stations that I have seen for myself, she has been to every one of them and has taken pictures and is trying in her own way to be able to resolve some of the deficiencies that exist,’ he stated.
The PM said it would be difficult for his administration to upgrade standards overnight.
But he asserted that his government is ‘absolutely committed’ to an upgrade.
Chastanet revealed that several different locations have been looked at as places to house the court of justice, the latest one being Barnard Hill, which would involve relocating the National Cultural Centre.
He stated that progress is being made in relation to the establishment of a new police headquarters at the site of the former Golden Hope hospital.
‘It is an incredible building. It is being designed with the assistance of architects from Canada who have designed similar facilities for the government of Canada,’ Chastanet told police officers.
He asserted that he was ‘very excited’ about the project.
‘We are also talking about the Marine Police moving away from where they are currently located and putting them at the bottom of Bananes where the Texaco storage facilities used to be,’ the PM said.
He added that his administration was moving as quickly as it could to fix up police and fire stations.
‘It is with the greatest amount of sincerity that I come here to say to you – ‘Thank you for what you have been doing,”’ Chastanet told police officers.