NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (February 25, 2019) — The following is the full text of remarks delivered by Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis at the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force (Nevis Division) Constables’ Awards Ceremony and Dinner, hosted by the Strategic Planning Group at the Occasions Entertainment Arcade at Pinney’s Estate on February 23, 2019.
It is indeed a rare honour and privilege for me to be giving remarks at this, the Annual Constables Award Ceremony and Dinner.
Let me start by first congratulating all of the awardees this evening. This is your night to shine. You are certainly worthy of all of the accolades, honour and distinction that will be conferred upon you this evening. I must also commend your family and friends whose unwavering support and encouragement played a critical role in your achievement this evening.
I have always felt that being a police officer is a special calling, a mission and a noble undertaking. Every day of your life in uniform, you will be called a law enforcement officer. However, as a guardian of public safety, your job entails much more than enforcing the law.
You will be witnesses of horrific crimes and, at times, you may have to inform the victim’s next of kin and help them to come to terms with the senselessness of their loss. On other occasions, you may have to referee a domestic altercation where once loving partners have come to display hatred, animosity and even homicidal tendencies for one another.
As an officer of the law you may even have to help the elderly across the street and sometimes, out of their sheer loneliness, you may have to provide the listening ear that they so desire and need. At some point in your illustrious career, you may even be called upon to save a life by putting your own life on the line. Such is a day in the life of a Police Officer.
So much of what you do as police officers demands courage. The Great British Statesman, Sir Winston Churchill once wrote: ‘Courage is the greatest virtue because it guarantees all the rest’. Constables, you will find this axiom to be real and evident throughout your career and beyond.
- It will require courage to enter a dangerous situation and put your life on the line to save others.
- It will take courage to remain calm under pressure and de-escalate a tense and dangerous situation.
- It takes courage to accept criticism and learn from your mistakes.
- It takes courage to reject corruption and brutality, and to report them when they become evident.
- It takes courage to embrace change – changes in the communities you serve, and changes in crime fighting strategies.
Constables, this evening you are in the spotlight because you have exemplified what it means to be a professional police officer. You have demonstrated that you are reliable, competent, hardworking, intelligent, and above all, dedicated to protecting and serving all members of society.
When you leave tonight’s event and return to your daily duties, I urge you to abide by the golden rule – to always treat those you are called to assist as you would wish to treated.
Treat your subjects with dignity and offer them the same protection you wish for your own flesh and blood. Secondly, be a person of character. Seek to live a life of integrity and encourage it in others. Earn the trust of your peers and the community. Build a partnership with the community you serve and build a reputation of integrity and competence.
It is equally important for you to keep a sense of balance in your life. Never overlook or take for granted the importance of family as you carry out your duties. Their love and support will prove pivotal in assisting you to cope with the complex and diverse challenges of everyday life.
In my New Year’s Day address, I recommitted my Government’s support for our security forces in our combat against crime and violence. I indicated that as a government, the Nevis Island Administration will work harder and invest heavily to ensure that our communities are safe, and that our crime fighting and prevention capabilities are strengthened and enhanced.
I once again pledge that we will tackle every situation involving crime and criminals with the level of aggression and commitment required for us to triumph. However, for us to triumph, each of us must play our part in crime solving. Criminals and criminality can only be defeated through a partnership between the Police and the community. The Police and citizens they serve must realise that their combined efforts are far greater than the sum of their individual efforts.
Sadly, we are living in a world when personal responsibility has declined. Too many of us believe that we are no longer responsible for our actions and readily succumb to the blame game of blaming someone or something else – the environment, society or the government. Such excuses ultimately shift the blame from the criminals to the victims or the law enforcement officers.
In effect, we are sending a dangerous message to the criminals that it is not your fault but that of society. Added to this damaging state of mind, we are witnessing the prevalence of values where people are devoid of respect for the law, for themselves, for others or even human life.
As a decent and hardworking people, who understand the clear distinction between right and wrong, we are duty bound to challenge these attitudes head on. We must all with one voice send a clear message to the criminals that enough is enough. All law-abiding citizens must play their part in fashioning a society based on personal responsibility, honesty, moderation, respect, truthfulness and the sanctity of human life. I am persuaded that if we are resolute, if we are courageous, if we are determined, if we have the will, we can prevail and triumph in our battle against crime and violence.
Once again, I congratulate all of the nominees and awardees this evening and I tip my hat to all of you. As members of St. Christopher and Nevis’ finest, I pray for Jehovah’s continued blessings upon you for the courage you have displayed over the years, for the extraordinary service you are providing and the sacrifices you have made on behalf of our community, island and our beloved nation.