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Gonsalves defends appointment of ASP Kamecia Blake

Gonsalves defends appointment of  ASP Kamecia Blake

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Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has defended the recent appointment of university graduate Kamecia Blake to the local constabulary as an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP).{{more}}

Speaking in the House of Parliament Monday, October 25, Dr Gonsalves said that Blake’s enlistment into the Police Force as a trained forensic psychologist “would be of tremendous assistance in the solving of crimes.”

He added that there are other areas such as administration and human resource development that could benefit positively from the entry of university graduates into the constabulary.

Dr Gonsalves said that the government had acted on a report conducted earlier which suggested that St Vincent and the Grenadines should do as some of its counterparts across the region and allow University graduates to enter the police force at particular levels.

“The government has adopted that as a policy decision, and Miss Blake is the first person to be appointed to the position,” Dr Gonsalves explained, adding that she is a brilliant young scholar.

Blake has a first class honours degree in Psychology from the University of the West Indies and a Master of Science degree in Forensic Psychology from the University of Portsmouth.

According to the prime minister, she was initially attached to the Force as an administrative cadet, but had expressed an interest in joining the Police Force.

“And we wanted her to be a member of the police force,” Dr Gonsalves asserted.

“Given the fact that it was an innovation, we wanted to see how she would fit and from all reports, she performed beautifully,” he further explained.

“She is now inducted into the police force and she can better serve the police force.”

With regard to the regular basic training, Dr Gonsalves acknowledged that in other territories, University graduates are still required to do basic training, but he admitted that at the moment no such programme is in place here.

Gonsalves said that there needed to be some caution with regard to this particular programme, so that all the spaces are not blocked for police officers to move up by natural promotion.

The prime minister also said that some persons had even argued that graduates should enter the force at higher ranks, but pointed out that such a policy would be an error.

“We have to do it in a balanced and focused way, in order to get the benefits from specialized training in specialized areas,” the prime minister said.

He was, however, of the opinion that had there been a sufficient supply of University certified officers coming through with rapidity that this would reduce the need for fewer entries from outside, as in this case.

Dr Gonsalves acknowledged that the situation was getting better with more and more officers either leaving to pursue university training, or recently graduating.

“That is where we are,” he said.

“It is a wonderful thing to give young people opportunities and for the police force to be seen as a respectable institution, a place where you can have a career and not one where you just go and wait until you are retired or you just looking for a job,” he said.

The prime minister further stated that the issue was being looked into by a special committee for the development of a broad policy to deal with the matter. (DD)

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