U.S. Government allocates US$2 million in military and security assistance to St. Kitts and Nevis

Commander of the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force and Coast Guard, Colonel Patrick Wallace; St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas; United States Charge d’Affaires, His Excellency, Dr. Brent Hardt and United States Military Liaison Officer, Commander Theodore Gangsei at the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Government of the United States (photo by Erasmus Williams)

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, MARCH 21ST 2011 (CUOPM) – The United States Government is spending U.S. $1.67 million in the form of maritime intercept vessels and support equipment this year as part of a US$2 million in military and security support to St. Kitts and Nevis this year, compared to US$560,000 last year.

“For example, in 2010, we provided US$78,000 to St. Kitts and Nevis under the U.S. International Military Education and Training program. We have allocated US$118,000 for 2011. The United States also provided US$390,000 in 2010 Foreign Military Financing funds for technical assistance to St. Kitts and Nevis’s security services, and allocated an additional US$272,000 for 2011. This year the people of the United States will also donate to St. Kitts US$1.67 million in the form of maritime intercept vessels and support equipment this year. The United States recently provided professional grade diving equipment to St. Kitts security services. St. Kitts also benefits from U.S.-funded RSS police training as part of America’s commitment to regional structures that support peace and security,” the United States Embassy for St. Kitts and Nevis and the Eastern Caribbean.

The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) is a multi-year, multi-agency programme which fulfills U.S. President Barack Obama’s commitment to deepen regional security announced at the 5th Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain and the US administration continues to engage with St. Kitts and Nevis in an effort to strengthen its security and military forces.

In a statement, the Embassy said Law Enforcement Cooperation in the region is a key U.S. priority and these efforts are continuing under CBSI.

“We have funded and provided training to scores of security professionals in St. Kitts and Nevis, including drug unit commanders, police, coast guard, immigration and other security officers,” said the statement, pointing out that in the last three years, over 60 security professionals from St. Kitts and Nevis attended 14 different U.S. training courses that addressed marine repair, civil aviation security, trafficking, border security measures, forensic investigations, and financial crimes investigations, inter alia.

Funding and equipment for security services as well, including US$63,100 in 2010 for equipment for the police service were providing.

From 2010 to present, under a U.S. Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program (ATA), 12 St. Kitts and Nevis law enforcement officers have been trained in computer and digital evidence forensic investigative techniques.

“This training allows them to take full advantage of the resources of the ATA-funded Computer Investigations Laboratory in Antigua,” said the statement.

It added that in the same period, the United States donated to St. Kitts and Nevis, related investigative equipment totaling US$12,000.

The Naval Crime Scene Investigation Unit and the Embassy’s Force Protection Unit have trained 41 officers, lead investigators and detectives in a Crime Scene Management Subject Matter Exchange.

The US Embassy said the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and the U.S. Government collaborate closely in the area of drug enforcement with the United States providing US$17,000 for the St. Kitts drug squad to purchase a vehicle, while also completing a marijuana eradication campaign, provided uniforms to the St. Kitts military, and donated a laptop computer to the Royal St. Kitts and Nevis Police Drug Squad in an effort to boost their capabilities.

We consider St. Kits and Nevis a key partner in our combined counternarcotics efforts and fund the participation of Royal St. Kitts Police Force personnel in several international consultative counternarcotics conferences each year. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has also provided training to St. Kitts and Nevis officials. In January of 2011 DEA sponsored training for four persons in the St. Kitts Financial Investigation Unit.

CBSI involves the active participation of every regional government, including St. Kitts and Nevis, and features the provision of training, equipment, and other programmatic assistance to address all aspects of commonly-identified challenges to regional security.

The United States provided more than US$45 million to support CBSI in its first year, and President Obama has requested US$73 million for 2012. This program addresses not just traditional interdiction and law enforcement efforts, but also institution building, reform, and prevention through targeted social programs, with priorities being identified with its Caribbean partners.

The U.S. looks forward to remaining engaged with the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis (GSKN), in developing specific priorities and programs under CBSI.

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