At the helm of the nation’s leadership team is a lady, a professional and an experienced dedicated servant who has the safety and security of our proud country as the number one priority. She is none other than Mrs. Astona Browne. She is not only the most senior official, but also the most experienced and respectable Permanent Secretary in the Federation and the Region as a whole. Mrs. Browne is the Co-Chair of the US/Caribbean Basin Security Initiative Commission and also the Chairperson of the CARICOM Security Policy Advisory Committee (SEPAC) a position she was asked to retain given that she is the longest serving Permanent Secretary of National Security in the member states of CARICOM with the institutional memory and understanding of security issues and strategies.
There is a popular phase that says “A king has no honor in his own country”. I can now add “A queen has no honor in her own country”. History has not only taught us, but the bible which is the Holy Word of God so rightfully and fittingly says that not even a prophet has honor in his own country. It is no wonder that the chicken has now come home to roost and those people with secret agendas, who took solace and hide behind the cloak of certain groups and organizations have banded together, not for the interest of the country.
Permit me to note a few other state women who are woven with the same fabric of cloth; Adamae Edwards, Anne Liburd, Consie Mitcham, Astona Browne, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton all are trailblazers in the history and development of their country, the region and internationally. In fact, Mrs Browne is referred to by our regional and international counterparts as the ‘Secretary of Defence’ for that is the level at which she operates.
Mrs. Browne, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security is a capable and contemporary leader in the field. She emerged from a poor and humble up-brining from the rural area in St. Kitts. She is a true trendsetter for women and is an enduring giant who has a great history of blazing academic and professional success.
Her determination in the struggle is to succeed and ensure that fairness and equality are the promised hallmarks of the government. She is also bent on ensuring that the voices of the women movement in our Federation and the region be heard and not stifled. Moreover, she encourages real change and transformation in the way the security forces provide services and to ensure that it’s not business as usual but actions and practices that are equal to and even surpass international standard.
However, after careful and in-depth analysis of the recent five (5) point plan that the media reported was communicated to the public by way of a press release from the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, three (3) of the recommendations that caught my attention are the removal of the present PS in the Ministry of National Security, the contracting of a foreigner as Commissioner of Police and the mobilization of the RSS to assist the local Police. These in my humble opinion are very alarming and embarrassing to say the very least.
After all the progress and developments that are taking place under the astute leadership of Mrs. Browne, could it be construed that these recommendations are nothing more than mere political red herring that are being brandished in the air not only to distract but to sully the pure and pristine waters of the Ministry and to throw the nation’s security apparatus in a state of confusion?
I can say without a shadow of a doubt that Mrs. Browne is likewise the rudder and wheel also the compass steering this great ship of state security. She is not an easy walk over, she has her head on and she makes well informed and sound decisions to the benefit of the nation where national security is concerned.
I can unreservedly say that National Security has completely engulfed this fine and distinguished lady. She breathes national security, she sings national security (with a talent that is also known to many in the spiritual community); I am almost certain that when she prays to our God she includes National Security. This Ministry is the blood that runs in her veins and it has gone way beyond a mere job for her, but she has taken the safety and security of our country so dear to her heart. There are many strategic and operational plans initiated by Mrs. Browne for the security forces. Whenever a violent crime occurs, this dedicated lady will drop every thing that she is doing and immediately coordinate resources to solve these offences. We would be very motivated because if it is midday or midnight the same commitment and intensity are ever present.
The only thing left for Mrs. Browne to do is to be fitted in a uniform (grey police shirt and a military camouflage pant) to patrol our streets. I dare to say she would be on call 24/7. The nation is privileged to have her services and as a consequence, I want to let her know that even when Christ was on earth doing his father’s will, healing the sick and feeding the multitude and doing all manner of good, though they find no fault in him and had no cause to castigate him. It was Pontius Pilate and some around him that said, “Give us Barabbas and crucify Christ.” If truth be told and were we to follow her guidelines for managing the resources given to the security forces, we would have been even further ahead of the game today in many ways. She is a ‘stickler’ for protocol, procedure and accountability. The lack of will to sustain our strategic planning and operations is at the core of the perception of failure by the security forces.
Could the public be enlightened on the reasons why some persons in the specially convened meeting as part of a pre-conceived plan did not agree on this issue of changing the PS? Is it the same strategy that resulted in the removal of other committed professionals?
Let us be truthful! Check out those who are talking! Do they really know what the real problem is with national security? Are they on the outside looking in? Empirical evidence cannot be conjured up in the minds of those whose thinking and perception are already skewed by personal sentiments? Was the subject of discussion ever given the opportunity to interact with her accusers? Will the one sided perspective of the few, justify the recommendation made by those whose intent maybe to mislead? Do they really know the lady who has been the source of stability in the security arena over the years?
That unassuming, efficient, responsible, reliable, accountable, professional with distinguished service record, well spoken multi lingual lady who has the respect of the unprejudiced technocrats in the realm of security is confident that her knowledge of the subject matter can be measured by the solid years of experience, in dealing with the issues of national, regional or international nature. If those who are just coming on board are claiming to understand what security is all about, what about the lady of high intellect with enormous hands on experience, who sits at the same table with Politicians, Military experts, security advisors making her invaluable contributions on the issue of pertinent security nature. LET’S BE FAIR! LET’S BE JUST! LET’S BE HONEST!
I say stand tall Mrs. Astona Browne you are a true champion to the service of security nationally, regionally and internationally. We thank you Madam Browne!!!