An integrated eight-week course for officers attached to the nation’s security forces – Customs and Excise Division, the Immigration Department, the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda and Her Majesty’s Prison – has ended with organisers saying that the training surpassed all their expectations.
Delivering the feature address, Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Trade Minister, Hon. E.P Chet Greene, said he is pleased with the fact most students were successful at the end-of-course examinations with an average of 83 percent mark. He said he was particularly pleased that the training was home-grown and not something imported from outside which made it more relevant to the local situation.
“I am proud that we had a locally-designed programme, a locally-offered programme that is tailor-made to deal with the realities of our own law enforcement issues,” Greene noted. He gave kudos to the designers of the programme for using their combined skills to create a training programme that encapsulates the core competences necessary for people in the security fraternity.
Chief Immigration Officer, Katrina Yearwood, whose department submitted thirty of the 58 participants who took part in the training, praised the course for providing the platform upon which all future collaborations between the security forces can be built.
“Not only have the participants come away with improved skills that would make them carry out their duties more efficiently, but during the planning stages all the department heads also acknowledged the need for more effective cooperation and coordination between the security services,” Yearwood told the closing ceremony Monday afternoon.
She noted that the value of what she termed ‘the new normal’ is security forces sharing information and working for the common goal of protecting the nation of Antigua and Barbuda. This, she emphasized, is invaluable
For his part, Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Austin Greenaway, said that the course proved that the days when the individual security force operated in isolation are at an end. He added that the view among some that each department is an entity unto itself when performing its duties must also be discarded.
“This integrated training course tells me that we are moving ahead as one. The people who are out there breaking the law with their various scams have been watching a divided security apparatus, but following this course those days are no more,” Greenaway declared.
Also speaking at the closing exercises was Deputy Commissioner of Police, Everton Jeffers, who highlighted the fact that the course focused on standardization of procedures among the security forces.
“This training has now put all of the bodies here at a place that should something happen all the participants would be able to come together and operate with relative ease,” Jeffers stated.
In providing highlights of the training module, Course Coordinator, Nigel Emanuel, is recommending that the integrated training should be continuous for law enforcement officers. He also wants training for different levels and ranks and he feels that it would be an added fillip to have regional and international experts deliver lectures on specific subject areas in the future.