SSU officers go through a rigorous paramilitary training course

It was truly a momentous occasion for the 30 Special Service Unit (SSU) officers who completed a six-week basic paramilitary training course, which ended on Friday 12 August.

Among those who attended the closing ceremony, held at Beanfield Comprehensive Secondary School in Vieux-Fort, were Prime Minister and National Security Minister Phillip J Pierre, senior brass from Royal St Lucia Police Force (RSLPF), and Minister of Health, Moïse Jn Baptiste.

The course included human rights training, firearms training, first aid and map reading, and field skills.

Overall, there was 100% success with an average of 74%. The highest individual score was 88% and the lowest 63%.

Addressing the officers, who were in a festive mood, Prime Minister Pierre said he was aware of the issues affecting the force and was doing his best to resolve them.

Prime Minister Phillip J Pierre speaks

“I assure you that I am doing everything I can to improve your working conditions,” he told officers.

He called on them to discharge their duties with pride and to the best of their abilities, adding that they are doing it for the country.

“Every day when you step out in that uniform you are doing something for this country… saving a life, that life could be yours, but most of the time it’s someone else’s life “, did he declare.

He added: “Your responsibility is awesome. You have the power that a lot of people don’t have. You have the power to restrict people and take away their freedom. Those are awesome powers.”

He told them that their task was not easy, as the course had taught them, but that they had to go out there and make Saint Lucia a better place.

Pierre insisted on the need for officers to be able to carry out their duties effectively. “I want to have a lean and fit police force, when you go out and work your body has to be fit,” he said.

WPC 270 Shena St Mark Receives Best First Aid & Card Reading Award

In his remarks, Commissioner of Police (COP), Milton Desir spoke highly of the program and all those who helped set it up.

“This fusion of military and paramilitary instruction was nothing short of brilliant. Hats off to the training team and everyone who put the training program together,” Desir said.

He told the officers that a lot is expected of them, adding that their job is not easy. He added that the environment we currently live in is far more dangerous and difficult than it has ever been.

“We have a duty to preserve the life and property of our citizens and to maintain law and order in the country,” he said.

Desir said the training they received must show up in our efforts to bring Saint Lucia back to a safe place.

“I urge you to continue to make yourselves, your family, the force and by extension, the citizens, proud,” he said.

In explaining the impact of the course, PC 228 Keelian Emmanuel went dramatic as he recounted the grueling training they endured, in harsh conditions.

Denise W. Whigham