Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 16, 2017 (SKNIS): The 5th Annual Independence Drills Competition proved to be the most closely contested yet when it was held on Friday, October 13, 2017 in front of Rams Supermarket on the Basseterre Bay Road.
In fact just one point – 94-93 – separated the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force (RSCNPF), as the winner in the Team Category, from SCASPA. The same one point difference was also recorded in the Individual Category where Delroy Belle earned 281 points to beat Tariq Jones at 280. Both men are from the RSCNPF.
The other participants were Latoya Percival and Andy Williams of Bravo Company in the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF), Geovaughnie Weekes and Jamal Wyatt of the St. Christopher Air and Sea Port Authority (SCASPA), Livingston Guishard of the St. Kitts and Nevis Fire and Rescue Service (SKNFRS), Randy Whyte and Beverly Carey of Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP), and Jelanie Griffin of the St. Kitts-Nevis Cadet Corps.
A three-person panel scored the participants during an inspection segment that was followed by a drills segment where 41 commands including saluting to the front, diagonal turning at the halt left incline, quick march, about turn, moving to the right in single file and more were executed.
Constable Jones said that he was happy that his agency was successful in the competition.
“It feels good. I am always a team player and when this opportunity came up, I was happy that I would be able to go out there and represent the police force,” he noted.
The young police officer said that he was also proud of his second place finish in the Individual Category, as it came down to a drill off between Whyte of HMP, Weekes of SCASPA, and himself. He described it as “a well fought battle.”
Nigel Williams founded and coordinated the event in his capacity as the Music Specialist in the Department of Culture and a member of the SKNDF Band. He said he was pleased with this year’s activity, which was originally scheduled as part of events marking the 34th Anniversary of Independence in September. The passage and aftermath of Hurricane Maria caused the postponement.
The large crowd attending the contest, as well as their vocal support for the various competitors, signal that the drills display remains a popular activity five years after it was first introduced.
Mr. Williams said next year the committee will stage a second competition that caters to youth in uniformed agencies. Additionally, the organizers hope to add a regional flavour to the Independence Drills Competition by inviting members of security forces from nearby countries.