Almost one month following the formal introduction of the Committee, its members have already met with the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force, the St. Kitts and Nevis Fire and Rescue Services, Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise Department, as well as the St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority. Mr. Astaphan explained that going forward, the NSSFC will meet with other government ministries and agencies such as Education, Health, the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Financial Regulatory Services Commission. They also expect to meet with non-government organizations in both St. Kitts and Nevis, for example, private sector, church groups, the Bar Association, the Medical Association, the Rastafarian community, and the St. Kitts National Youth Parliament Association, as well as political organizations.
“So, we have begun meeting with stakeholders and the idea is to continue this process into October and hopefully, in November, to be in a position to start assimilating the information and the inputs so that before the end of the year, before December is ended, we can present to the Ministry of National Security our findings and our proposals,” Mr. Astaphan said.
Following the meeting, the Committee asks each group to submit a paper to them outlining their perspectives with regard to the issues on the table for their respective organizations.
“Well everything is on the table – staffing, personnel, resources, interfacing with other agencies, morale, conditions at work, gaps they may find between their resources/capacities and their goals and targets, and we try to have an interactive approach in these meetings so that they go after the meeting, they sit down and they caucus among themselves, the various agencies individually. And they write their papers, which will have been stimulated by the 90 minute interaction we would have had with them before, so basically everything is on the table,” he said. “And when we speak with agencies, [it’s] not just the leadership, but we want to hear what the rank and file, the people down the chain of command have to say. Their perspective is very important.”
In addition to those meetings, the NSSFC wants to hear from members of the public. Town hall meetings are being planned for both islands and persons are also being encouraged to submit papers to the Secretariat. Mr. Astaphan said that individuals can submit papers outlining their perspectives and analysis of the problem, with recommendations as to how the situation can be improved “both from the criminal justice side, the policing side and the social intervention.”
Persons can contact the NSSFC Secretariat, which is located in the E.C. Daniel Building on Cayon Street or call 662-5864 and speak with Mrs. Chessy Webbe-Allen, who oversees the office. Members of the public can also submit contributions by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The objectives of the National Security Strategy Formulation Committee (NSSFC) are to: (a) clearly identify the threats that are impacting or could impact St Kitts and Nevis; (b) analyze and prioritize current and future threats, using acceptable international rating standards, in consultation with the relevant stakeholders; (d) determine the capacities and capabilities needed to counter threats, in consultation with the relevant stakeholders; and (e) determine and clearly indicate, gaps in resources and make the relevant recommendations for addressing such issues among others.
The Committee is comprised of Dwyer Astaphan (Chairman) – Attorney-at-law and former Minister of Tourism and Ministry of National Security and Social Commentator; Timothy Antoine – Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank; Pastor Lincoln Hazell – representing the Clergy; Errol Wilkinson – Chamber of Industry and Commerce representative; Michele de la Coudray-Blake – Director of the Counselling Department, Ministry of Social Development, Community and Gender Affairs; Pierre Liburd – Acting Director of the Youth Empowerment Department; Donald Cable – Retired Comptroller of Customs; Joseph Liburd – Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police; and Newrish Nital – Social Commentator and Drug Prevention Officer with the National Drug Council.