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347,170 mature marijuana plants destroyed in RSS Basic Course 1

347,170 mature marijuana plants destroyed in RSS Basic Course 1

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Fifty-seven huts, 347,170 mature marijuana plants, 325 dried marijuana plants and 3,141,000 marijuana seedlings were destroyed during a drug raid in La Soufrière mountains earlier this month.

The raid, which was part of the jungle training component of the Regional Security System (RSS) Basic Course 1, also saw 510 pounds of compressed marijuana and 56 tarpaulins being seized.

Delivering the course report last Friday at the Old Montrose Police Station at the conclusion of the course, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Randy Connaught reported that on the last day of the jungle training, officers hiked over La Soufrière volcano from Richmond Beach to Georgetown and conducted 47 field searches.{{more}}

During the jungle training, which is the second phase of the course, one illegal immigrant was also arrested.

The course commenced in Barbados, May 3 to July 1 and continued in St Vincent July 3 to 22, 2016 and saw 32 of the 33 participants successfully completing the training, while one participant had to be returned to his unit because of injury.

Participants were drawn from police forces in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis and SVG.

They were instructed in ‘Skills at Arms’, which entailed the proficient handling and use of the M16, A1 and A2 rifles and also the 9mm Beretta pistol. ‘Basic first aid’, ‘Human Rights’, ‘Map Reading’, ‘Land Navigation’, ‘Disaster Management’, ‘Maritime Training’, ‘Field Craft’ and ‘Internal Security’ were also taught.

While in SVG, participants were introduced to ‘Jungle Survival’ which comprised: Life and Hazards of the Jungle; Health and Hygiene in the Tropics; Types and Selection of Construction of Shelters; Jungle Navigation; Patrolling; Contact Drills; Casualty Evacuation; Fighting in the Jungle; and Jungle Close-Quarter Shooting.

The topics were facilitated in the classroom and tested in field training exercises.

Connaught said for the trek through the jungle, participants were only allowed to retain their weapon, water, a form of light and a personal kit; their food came from edible plants and animals found in the environment.

He disclosed that the purpose of the course was to teach and prepare participants in basic military procedure and to equip them with the necessary skills required by individuals to operate in paramilitary units in the various police forces and particularly to enable them to function alongside military personnel during operations and exercises organized by the RSS.

According to Connaught, being the most physically demanding course on the RSS training calendar, participants understood that it would not be “an easy walk in the park” and demonstrated a high level of proficiency, discipline and restraint during the exercises, “thus realizing the ultimate objective.”

Last Friday, nine graduates received awards in nine principal course areas.

PC Damiean Maloney of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) received the award for ‘Best at Map Reading’; PC Insley Campbell of the RSVGPF received the ‘Best Pistol Shot’ award; PC Drexel Lowmans of the RSVGPF received the ‘Most Physical Male’ award; WPC Alina Richardson of Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) received the ‘Most Physical Female’ award; PC Collison Cottoy of the RSVG received the ‘Best at First Aid’ award; WPC Samantha Coates-Valerie of the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda received the ‘TTSM’s Award for Best at Drills’; PC Jason Timothy of the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force (CWDPF) received the ‘TTSM’s Award for Best Turned Out Student’ award; and the ‘Best Student’ award went to Kemar Millar of the RBPF.

In making his last remarks to RSS officers as Commissioner of Police, Michael Charles advised the graduates to use their training as a stepping stone in their upward mobility in their respective forces.

Noting that he was a participant of the very first RSS Basic Course in 1987, Charles urged participants to pass on what they had learned to their colleagues.

“Just like West Indies cricket, the regional security system keeps the RSS countries united,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Sir Louis Straker also made remarks and stated that it was necessary that the different police forces came together for the collective security of the region.

Straker further stated that the recognition of the RSS as regional public good cannot be overstated and it is the forerunner to modern combined regional efforts at dealing with security and is seen as a pillar of support to front-line agencies such as the police force and the coast guard.

He told officers that much is expected of them, adding that without police, the free society would disintegrate into chaos and criminal elements would take over.

“You are to uphold the high standards that you have been trained to uphold as police officers and now as officers of the Regional Security System,” he said.

Straker urged officers to not succumb to any temptation that would lower the high standard expected of them.

Last year, the RSVGPF and RSS acquired and/or destroyed marijuana, shotguns, ammunition and a grenade launcher found between July 20 and 22, 2015 in the forested areas of St Vincent and the Grenadines.(AS)

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