Crime / Crime PreventionPress ReleasesSpeechesSt. Kitts and Nevis

Address by Astona Browne at Opening of FBI Active Shooter and Intelligence Gathering Course

I am pleased to join in welcoming the participants to this training course and to say how pleased we are to see the convening of another training session for law enforcement officers. I am particularly pleased to extend a warm welcome to all the agencies gathered here today as beneficiaries of this course of training.
I take the opportunity on behalf of the Anti-Crime Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister to welcome to the Federation the three agents from the Federal Bureau of investigation (FBI) Mr. Edgar Cruz, Rodney Cortez and Kim Webster who, for the next few days, will be the facilitators for the Active shooter course as well as training in intelligence gathering. I am reminded that two years ago the FBI facilitated training in the basic homicide investigation which provided critical information to our officers who, as part of their duty, are involved in the investigation of violent crimes. We have since established the Violent Crimes Unit which has been providing much needed support to our investigation of homicide and violent crime as a whole. 

A few weeks ago the Anti Crime Unit in partnership with the National Prosecution Unit in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution launched the training Programme convened under the theme: Practical Prosecution and Proactive Law Enforcement with the assistance of representatives and the judiciary and legal profession from the United Kingdom. The objective of this training initiative is to strengthen the prosecutorial capacity of the prosecutors of the National Prosecution Unit. We are equally cognizant of the critical importance of capacity building and overall human resource development of those who are tasked to deliver on improving the safety and security sector as a critical component of our capacity building and human resource development strategy. 

We consider this session today as being very timely.

This week’s course that focuses on a higher order of training in related areas that will enhance the capacity of our law enforcement officers to develop the skills necessary to identify traits and behaviours  in the individual, is part of a proactive approach in dealing with violent and gang related crimes. It is anticipated that the information disseminated will add to the knowledge and skills set that will improve the capacity of our officers in not only responding to violent crimes but to prepare them to recognize the  presence of dysfunctional tendencies that are associated with a lifestyle of gangsterim. We consider this to be very timely as it synchronizes with an overall preventative approach to crime and criminality in our homes, our schools and our communities as a whole.

Just yesterday we saw the roll out of a consultation here in the Federation with focus on the reduction in violence among the region’s youth which is being implemented in partnership with the Caribbean Community and the Government of Spain. This will involve among other things:

1. Assessment of environmental threats, risk, resilience and protective factors for school and community-based violence in an identified school and community in each participating Member State;
2. Development and implementation of targeted programmes and interventions based on the findings of the Assessment;
3. The establishment of Champions for Change Clubs (in school and in Community) to support and reinforce positive character development and social skills in at risk youths; 

The gang culture has infiltrated our schools, our homes, our societies and we must develop a holistic  and coordinated approach in ridding our communities of this scourge. 
Today as law enforcement officers, you are on the other side of the spectrum  of this response as partners with Government, our schools and our communities as a whole as we work to rid our communities of this scourge.
We welcome the intervention of the FBI to offer this specialized training  to our law enforcement officers to enable them not only to respond to active threat events but to enable them in the execution of their duties to be effective and skillful in using the evidence, the information and intelligence available from all sources in investigating and preventing violent crimes. Government welcomes the partnership with the United States of America, in this regard, for availing the expertise of THE FBI whose representatives are here after analysis and assessment of our challenges with the spate of gang and gun related crimes as we seek to address the gaps and deficiencies in our forces, not only in the Federation but in the region as a whole.

Three years ago when our Commissioner assumed office the violent crimes statistics were of much concern to all of us. The incidences of homicides were spiraling as a result of prevalence of gang warfare. Today, after strategic intervention at all levels we can report on the positive change that we have seen in this type of criminal activity. The records are there…Commissioner, you will agree that, notwithstanding the recent developments  in some communities of the sister island of Nevis, it is working.
Of course there is much to be done and that is why we are not complacent …that is why the experts from the FBI are here with us today to assist us in maintaining our focus in equipping our officers for the task …It is anticipated that in dealing with the active shooters who are part of the gang culture, our officers in law enforcement can draw on intelligence gathered to be more effective in executing their duties.  As officers you must be cognizant of the fact that in developing investigative techniques in modern societies, you must be prepared to use the prevailing technologies, to explore all avenues  as you equip yourselves to be better at what you do.

The presence of the FBI to deliver the training is part of our capacity building efforts as we endeavour as a Federation to raise the standard of service of our law enforcement Agencies. Today we welcome the Police and Customs officers who will be the beneficiaries of this training. As we progress as a nation, we will soar beyond the petty issues that are designed to distract serious men and women in the execution of their duties as professionals. There is much that you can learn from the representatives of this renown Agency, the FBI. They perform with professionalism and a high level of efficiency. I would like to challenge you the participants here today, if there is one thing that you can learn from the FBI experts who have been dispatched to deliver this course of training over the next few days, is the professional manner in which they execute their duties. This is at the vanguard of their success in their field.   You will learn from them how to be effective investigators with the capacity and capability to bring to bear skills,  experience and expertise in developing a proactive approach in your focus on gang and gun related crimes and any other form of criminal activities for that matter.

Government will continue with the assistance of its national, regional and international partners to ensure the implementation of crime reduction strategy.
I use this opportunity to commend the Commissioner for maintaining his focus as he persists in the execution of his task drawing on the resources available to him to endeavour to transform the Force to an agency where professionalism and effective performance will be the tools to fulfilling the Force’s motto of making a difference in our community. As Head of the Anti crime Unit in the office of the Prime Minister, as Chairman of the CARICOM Crime and Security Management Committee, Chairman of the CARICOM Security Policy Advisory Committee and Co-chair of the US-Caribbean Basin Security Committee,  I pledge full support to the initiatives that you have identified to transform the Force.  Government, as a whole, will continue to work with you in the execution of your task as head of the principal law enforcement Agency in the Federation.  Under your leadership much has been accomplished. The evidence is there for all, especially those who are on the side of law and order, to see … normalcy is returning to our streets.  The FBI are always welcome to partner with us in building capacity and making the change in mindset and procedures as we seek to deal with the new and emerging threats and lift the level of delivery of service in traditional and non -traditional criminal activities.

I want to thank Major Coleman for his dedication to service and commitment in working with the Force in the delivery of our capacity building efforts. From first responders at the scenes of crime, to basic homicide training, forensic investigation and strengthening the prosecutorial capabilities of the officers, intelligence gathering and focus on the active shooter to name a few, he has been the major player in securing these training for us.

Let me also through Major Coleman and the US Embassy register our appreciation to the Government of the United States of America for being a fervent partner with the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis in availing the resources of the experts from the FBI on this occasion to work with us in taking our law enforcement officers  and  the Agency, as a whole, to a higher standard…  On behalf of the Anti- Crime Unit in the office of the Prime Minister I wish to applaud you for responding to the call to service and for coming to St. Kitts and Nevis to deliver/disseminate of your knowledge and expertise in partnership with our Forces as we attempt to grapple with the challenges of gang and gun related crimes and all forms of criminal activities that are inimical to stable and progressive societies such as ours.
As officers, you must continue to take advantage of these courses of training and aspire for excellence by internalizing higher levels of knowledge, skills and performance in the execution of your duties as you endeavour to make our communities safer and better as we strive to create the enabling environment to promote growth and development and to improve the quality of life for our citizens and residents of this our proud country.
Thanks you.

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