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Saint Lucia Marine police get much needed training

By Gideon Aurelien

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(SNO) — Training courses in basic engineering and advanced outboard maintenance, offered to the Marine Unit of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force last month, could be likened to a glass of water given to a man, walking across the Sahara Desert, and dying from thirst.

The intensity of the gratitude from each recipient could very well be the same. For instance, to the dying man in the desert, the glass of water may very well be a lifeline offered to him. The same could be said for the two courses offered to the police.

At least that’s what it seems like after hearing some of the speakers at Friday’s closing ceremony for the two courses.

To Superintendent Finley Leonce of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, the courses came at an opportune time for the Marine Unit, noting that in the recent past, there had been a dearth of training opportunities for members of the department.

“A plea was made to the RSS and they understood, appreciated, and accepted the dilemma which the unit is faced with. This has resulted in the Regional Security System (RSS) coming to the rescue of the Marine Unit with these two courses,” he said.

“We at the Marine Unit are grateful for these opportunities. The training will go a long way in enhancing the engineering capacity of the recipients. They were chosen for these courses because they have displayed requisite aptitude, but more importantly, they possessed the right attitude to become successful in the field of engineering,” Leonce affirmed.

Also delighted at the courses offered by the RSS was Deputy Police Commissioner Milton Desir who spoke of grabbing the offers when they were made.

“When these two courses were offered by RSS we grabbed the opportunity and maximised the number of persons who could have attended. Courses of that nature could not have been more timely as we have to maintain and preserve our existing assets, because we are not sure when we are going to get replacements,” Desir said.

The gratitude by the police force is understandable, seeing that the outside training regime they once had, had been severely affected when the United States imposed restrictions on them on account of the Leahy Law the US affected on St. Lucia, due primarily from events emanating from a police operation in 2010-2011 called ‘Operations Restore Confidence’.

The restrictions are still in effect today, therefore any outside assistance offered to the police force will be welcomed.

The courses ended on Thursday with congratulations being given to the 10 members — five in each course –of the Marine Unit who participated. And the congratulations were in order as the courses’ participants achieved pass marks way beyond the 60 percent mark that was seen as the minimum passing grade. They achieved an 81.5 percent overall for the Basic Engineering Course and 81.4 percent overall for the Advanced Outboard Maintainer Course.

Lieutenant Commander of RSS Brian Roberts said the courses were all about building capacity throughout the region among Member States.

“We intend to continue in this capacity building mode and returning here in October to do additional evidence course and in November to do two maritime-related courses,” he said.

RSS Chief Petty Officer Kirk Holder said the basic engineering course was structured to give students knowledge of the safety precautions and practices in the engineering field, to enable them to be conversant with the use of the various types of hand and measuring tools, to have the ability to identify the operational system of the machinery for their safety, to conduct basic restart checks, identify defects and effect repairs, and perform routine maintenance as required.

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