Press Release:– Prime Minister Honourable Allen M. Chastanet has welcomed the announcement that the United States will resume security cooperation and assistance to select units within the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) with immediate effect.
The Prime Minister noted that the Government of Saint Lucia has been working closely with United States authorities on this issue and “this is a step in the right direction.”
“The relationship between the United States and Saint Lucia is a strong one and we continue to work closely on national, hemispheric and global issues,” noted Prime Minister Chastanet.
“Specific to security, we are pleased to learn of the opportunity for units within our police force to access training, including our marine and immigration units.”
The announcement was made at a joint press briefing at the Finance Administrative Centre, on 18th June 2021 by U.S. Ambassador to Saint Lucia, Her Excellency Linda Taglialatela, following the suspension of cooperation and after a review that included extensive consultations across U.S. Government agencies.
Also present at the press briefing was Minister for Security Honourable Hermangild Francis, Minister with responsibility for External Affairs Honourable Sarah Flood-Beaubrun, Police Commissioner Milton Desir and U.S Embassy Bridgetown Senior Defense Official Steve Charnon.
“This means that units such as the Marine and Immigration units will again be able to enjoy the full benefits of U.S. security assistance that we are planning to begin in the coming months,” said Ambassador Taglialatela.
For his part Police Commissioner Milton Desir also welcomed the news, stating: “For about 10 years now the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force has not benefited from the United States in relation to training assistance and also equipment supply due to the imposition of sanctions . . . We are pleased at the announcement of the lifting of certain conditions of the Leahy imposition and that the force would benefit from the United States assistance once again. A heartfelt thank you to Her Excellency and her team from the US Embassy for this remarkable gesture as we continue to strive towards crime reduction especially transnational organized crime and violence.”
The RSLPF units will be eligible for security assistance including through the regional multimillion dollar Caribbean Basin Security Initiative. Some Saint Lucia security units may also benefit from professional military educational and technical training courses provided through the United States Department of Defense; State Partnership Program exchanges with the Florida and U.S. Virgin Island National Guards; and regular maritime maintenance support through U.S. Southern Command’s Technical Assistance Field Team.
“We are encouraged by this announcement by the United States,” Prime Minister Chastanet added at the press briefing.
“I was heartened to hear that $500,000 that was set aside for our Marine Unit will now be available to upgrade the units we now have. The Marine Unit has played a critical role during the COVID period. This is welcome news.”
The Prime Minister noted that the administration will continue to provide all of the support necessary to the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), which is charged with investigations into allegations of wrongdoing.
“We are also committed to providing all of the necessary support to our law enforcement professionals charged with keeping us all safe,” stated the Prime Minister. “As an administration we have showed this commitment in many ways and Citizen Safety remains our top priority.”
Headline photo: From left to right- Police Commissioner Milton Desir, Security Minister Hermangild Francis, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, Ambassador Linda Taglialatela, Defense officer Steve Charnon and Minister of External Affairs, Sarah Flood-Beaubrun