The Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, addressed the senior leadership and rank-and-file officers of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force during this morning’s Commissioner’s Lecture at the police training complex, where the new Director of the Forensic Unit, Mrs. Latoya Lake-Marshall, was introduced to those in attendance.
This morning’s event came on the heels of the Parliament’s passage of the Appropriation (2019) Bill, 2018, which includes the largest budgetary allocation – $79.8 million – ever provided for the Ministry of National Security in the history of St. Kitts and Nevis. This represents a more than five percent increase over 2018.
Prime Minister Harris’ administration has significantly increased the budgetary allocation to the Ministry of National Security every year since assuming office in February 2015. Notably, the $72 million that was allocated to the Ministry of National Security for 2017 represented an almost five-fold increase over the $15.3 million allocated to it in 2014. The $72 million is also exactly double the combined total amount ($36 million) allocated in 2014 ($15.3 million) and 2015 ($20.7 million).
A graduate of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and a more than 16-year veteran of the Forensic Identification Unit of the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda, Mrs. Latoya Lake-Marshall started off her remarks, saying, “To whom much is given, much is expected. I stand before you extremely proud to represent you as your Forensic Director.”
She went on to stress the importance of teamwork. “My duty with you here in St. Kitts is to make you stronger at what you do. I’m not here to change what doesn’t need to be changed. I’m here to add a little touch to it so that we can make your Federation much safer,” the new Director of the Forensic Unit said.
“Mrs. Lake-Marshall inspired me because I got from her the view of a woman on the move,” Prime Minister Harris said, adding, “She reminds me of some of those hard-working women in our Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force. Give all the women folk a round of applause! They have come to realize that policing is policing – man or woman, you have to do the work, you have to get up early, you have to hold firm, you have to do a professional job – and they have outclassed many in a male-dominated profession.”
The Prime Minister continued, “More power to them and more power to the police force. We do appreciate all of the females who have come forward. Equally, we appreciate the men, but this [profession] has long been a preserve for males so it is good to have women in leadership.”
This morning’s event also followed yesterday’s 41st Graduation Ceremony of Course #42. Yesterday’s Passing Out Parade recognized the achievements of 34 police recruits – 32 males and 2 females – who successfully passed through the rigorous six month training exercise that served to introduce them to general duties and vital on-the-job skills, such as drills and physical training, as well as self-defence.
Today, the Prime Minister took the opportunity to personally congratulate and thank the graduates. Prime Minister Harris was not able to attend yesterday’s Passing Out Parade because the Appropriation (2019) Bill, 2018, which he had introduced in the National Assembly Chambers on December 12th, 2018 in his capacity as Minister of Finance, was making its final passage through Parliament that same evening (December 18th, 2018).