Justice, Law, Order, and Citizen Security

The Unity Labour Party Manifesto 2015
Table of Contents


Biabou Police Station

The ULP government has been, and is, committed to ensuring the delivery of the highest quality justice, maintaining and promoting law and order, and bolstering to the fullest the security and safety of our citizens.

Fighting Crime and Delivering Justice in the Courts

Since 2001, the ULP government has chalked up impressive achievements in this area, including:

  • Setting up a Serious Offences Court in Kingstown, and a Magistrate’s Court in Canouan;
     
  • Working with the OECS governments to regionalise and strengthen the Magistracy;
     
  • Improving markedly physical facilities and equipment, including the provision of computer and IT systems, in the Magistracy, Family Court, and High Court;
     
  • Ensuring a better use of the Coroner’s Court in cases of sudden and unnatural deaths of persons in appropriate cases;
     
  • Building an independent, quality National Prosecution Service centred around the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions;
     
  • Providing more Judges in the Criminal and Civil High Courts;
     
  • Making sterling security arrangements for Judges, Magistrates, and their families;
     
  • Making it more difficult for criminals to walk free by closing certain procedural and evidential loopholes
     
  • Ensuring that the right of individuals to institute private criminal cases in the Courts is not abused by busy-bodies who simply want to “name and shame” persons without evidence; the law was amended to fortify the established role of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution as the “gate-keeper” in criminal prosecutions to ensure balance, fairness, and justice;
     
  • Collaborating regionally and internally with other Court systems and agencies to better deliver justice;
     
  • Pushing for speedier trials in the Law Courts;
     
  • Fully implementing the vital Possessory Titles Act;
     
  • Passing legislation to rehabilitate criminal offenders of less serious crimes and to pursue rehabilitation generally;
     
  • Enhancing training for lawyers, paralegals, prosecutors, and law officials generally;
     
  • Publishing a new set of bound volumes of the Laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a more modern, up-to-date format.

In our fourth term, the ULP government will consolidate and extend all this excellent work. Specifically, we will build a modern Hall of Justice; further reform the criminal law and procedure; provide more modern and improved facilities for all the Law Courts; ensure the speeding up of civil and criminal trials; legislate to protect clients from lawyers’ misbehaviour and unprofessional conduct in the handling of the clients’ legal work, their monies and other property; engage in public consultations of the reform of marijuana laws particularly in respect of medical marijuana in conjunction with the Regional Marijuana Commission of CARICOM; and putting in place a modern system of land titling and registration!

The Police and Security Forces: Strengthening the Frontline Against Crime

A modern, efficient Police force, including the Coast Guard, and allied institutions of quality, are the front-line against crime. It is widely-acknowledged, inside and outside the Police Force, at home and abroad, that no government in the history of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has spent the extent of resources and effort, as the ULP administration has done, in building the Police Force (inclusive of the Coast Guard, and Fire Services) into a highly professional unit.

Over the almost 15 years of the ULP government, we have done exceptionally well in modernising and uplifting the Police Force to fight crime.  The relevant initiatives include:

✔ Adopting in Parliament in 2003, a 14-Point Strategy on Crime Prevention and elaborating an accompanying Work Plan in which the Police have a central place; indeed, the Strategy and Plan have been amended and upgraded over the ensuing years;

✔ Pursuing Reforms in the Police Force with guidance from the recommendations submitted by the Durrant Consultancy;

✔ Establishing a broad-based/permanent National Commission on Crime Prevention (NCCP) to assist in the fight against crime and the rehabilitation of criminal offenders;

✔ Carrying out a path-breaking and beneficial Reclassification Exercise in the Police Force which lifted the emoluments and prestige of the Police Force and its members significantly;

✔ Equipping the Police Force far better than ever before with motor vehicles, crime-fighting equipment, mobile Police Stations, household facilities, and modern telecoms equipment;

✔ Building modern Police Stations of the highest quality at Biabou, Canouan, Questelles, and Georgetown, and rebuilding/renovating every other Police Station in St. Vincent and the Grenadines;

✔ Facilitating the training and education, including university and professional training, of police personnel at unprecedented levels;

✔ Increasing the number of policemen/women significantly;

✔ Enhancing salaries, allowances and conditions of service (including extending the retirement age) of police officers;

✔ Establishing with the assistance of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago a Radar System to better detect, and aid in the apprehension of, criminals/criminal activities at sea;

✔ Setting up in the Police Force specialised crime-fighting units such as the Rapid Response Unit, the Major Crimes Unit, the Sexual Offences Unit, and the Trafficking-in-Persons Unit;

✔ Strengthening the Coast Guard in a number of ways: Increased the number of personnel; enhanced training; construction of a Coast Guard facility in Canouan; acquisition of several new Coast Guard vessels;

✔ Strengthening the Fire Services in many ways: Acquisition of several Fire Trucks including three top-of-the-line ones for the Argyle International Airport; an adequate supply of modern equipment; enhanced training; more fire-fighters; and improved physical facilities;

✔ Setting up the highly-regarded Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to address, especially, money-laundering in concert with the Police and Customs;

✔ Working closely with the Regional Security System (RSS), CARICOM security arrangements, the USA, Britain, France, Holland, Canada, INTERPOL, the International Migration Organisation and other regional/international agencies in the fight against transnational crime, money laundering, terrorism, drug trafficking, and trafficking-in-persons;

✔ Passing appropriate legislation to fight Praedial Larceny and the recruiting of 20 Rural Constables to assist the Police in stamping out theft of agricultural produce and animals;

✔ Building the SVG Cadet force from a declining institution of less than 100 members to over 1,200 members, including a Marine Wing, from among young people across St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  The Cadet Force’s physical facilities and amenities have improved markedly;

✔ Establishing a Forensic Laboratory;

✔ Civilianising and revolutionising the Immigration Department in the following, among other ways: Enhanced training; more and better-qualified personnel; modern and better-equipped headquarters; producing a high-quality, internationally-acclaimed CARICOM machine-readable, e-passport, with especial security features, resting on a foundation of reliable source documents including the new birth certificate;

✔ Building an excellent working relationship with the Police Welfare Association;

In the ULP’s fourth term in government, we will consolidate, build upon, extend, and deepen the excellent work done thus far over the last 15 or so years.  Further, we will specifically:

✔ Continue the reform process in the Police Force to better position the Police Force to carry out its statutory functions in a modern, changing environment;

✔ Continue the programme of building modern Police Stations and renovating/refurbishing/ repairing others;

✔ Enhance further the training and educational opportunities for police personnel;

✔ Ensure that the Fire Service is sufficiently upgraded in every respect to execute its mandates at the Argyle International Airport, and elsewhere;

✔ Strengthen further airport and seaport security;

✔ Work closely on civil aviation matters, including security, with the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority;

✔ Acquire more and better-equipped Coast Guard vessels/Interceptor Boats, including two before the end of December 2015 from the US Government’s Caribbean Basin Security Initiative;

✔ Continue to improve markedly the salary, allowances, and working conditions of the Police Force; there will be a pay increase from January 2016;

✔ Ensure that promotion in the Police Force is done on merit and not “friend-friend” connections to senior police officers or supposed political patrons;

✔ Continue to promote the public policy of non-discrimination in accord with the requisites of the Constitution of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and a modern Police Force.  Concomitantly, a climate free of partisan political bickering must be engendered by the Police Officers themselves.


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