Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 13, 2018 (SKNIS): Citizen security and the maintenance of law and order remain a top priority for the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis as demonstrated by the increase in the proposed 2019 Budget allocation for the Ministry of National Security.

The figures outlined by Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, during the Budget debate on Wednesday, December 12, 2018, point to a $60.5 million allocation for recurrent activities. This represents an increase of $6.3 million over the 2018 allocation. Additionally, the proposed 2019 allocation for Capital Expenditure is $19.4 million. This is a total of $79.9 million for the ministry, which surpasses last year’s record allocation of $75.5 million.

“As in past years, my government continues to commit significant resources to support the efforts of the security forces to support crime reduction and prevention activities,” Dr. Harris stated, noting that this include increasing manpower through extended recruitment practices, enhancing mobility by purchasing additional vehicles, and contracting experienced security specialists to advise and work along with local law enforcement.

The prime minister noted that the Ministry of National Security will continue to confront ongoing challenges with “renewed vigour and commitment.”

The implementation of a strategic framework next year will help to ensure that there is a functional security architecture and will include the development and implementation of a National Security Strategy; a strategic review of all security agencies and the intelligence gathering mechanism; as well as enhanced legislation to support crime fighting and deterrence of crime. Social intervention initiatives to reduce crime; training and development opportunities for law enforcement personnel; a determination of the role of private security companies in the national security architecture as well as public education programmes to highlight the role of society in the fight against crime will also be carried out.

“The ministry will continue its ongoing priority projects and actions such as the use of forensics in crime detection, expansion of the CCTV Surveillance System to the rural areas, construction of a new police station in Sandy Point, and the construction of a new prison,” Prime Minister Harris added.