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Saint Lucia’s Marine Police Unit continues to upgrade its operations in the fight against the illicit drug trade and other illegal activities.
On Thursday, four Marine Police vessels put on an enterprising display at the Castries Harbour.
The activity drew scores of onlookers including Home Affairs Minister Dr. Virginia Albert-Poyotte and Police Commissioner Cruscita Descartes-Pelius.
Away from the thrilling display at sea, Commander of the Police Marine Unit Kentry Frederick said the event’s aim, among other things, was to bring some “joy and cheer” to Descartes-Pelius for her hard work and dedication.
He said the marine officers also acknowledged the input of personnel from the Ministry of Home Affairs, who are integral to police operations.
Frederick noted that the display was a side attraction to those in attendance, including Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) officers and the public.
He observed that the event allowed onlookers to witness “the capabilities of the boats and what basically they have to display, in terms of confronting the challenges when it comes to Maritime Security.”
He said some of the challenges faced by the marine policed officers involve deep sea fishing, illegal, unreported fishing, the illegal drug trade, illegal distribution of narcotics and firearms, and illegal migration.
“So, we try to secure our borders,” the Marine Unit commander stated.
“But, even more importantly, is for us to enforce the Customs Laws and the Fisheries Law because we must protect our fishing industry by being out there,” he added.
Frederick said despite “manpower” issues, the Marine Unit does its best.
He said Saint Lucia and other Regional Security System (RSS) countries have recorded some success in the fight against illegal activities on the waters.
The Commander explained that the Marine Unit works with Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and other RSS countries to curb illegal activities.
“But more importantly, we have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the French, which is Martinique in the north,” he said.
He noted that Saint Lucia operates within a ‘shared -border’ with Martinique, located at least 12 miles away, and has wider links with France.
“What we try to do is to work together with the French, in terms of achieving some success,” said Commander Frederick.
Over the last two years or so, Saint Lucia has collaborated with Martinique in the fight against the illegal drug trade and other illicit activities taking place at sea.
Commander Frederick reported that the collaboration has produced “more results, in terms of seizures and successes”.
“Sometimes, you make interceptions which may not result in recovering the drugs, but it would be jettisoned, which means it is lost and will never get to the streets anywhere,” declared Frederick.
“We see a greater collaboration with us and the French authorities in terms of the movement of people, the movement of goods and services, and most importantly, the security of the two countries,” he asserted.