The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) will have to move its head office out of Fort George, according to Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. Keith Mitchell.
In presenting the 2016 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure in his capacity as Minister of Finance, the Prime Minister announced the relocation of the RGPF Headquarters from Fort George in the Capital City of St. George but did not give details about the new location.
“Government has decided to relocate the Headquarters of the Royal Grenada Police Force. Fort George is a tourism site. An alternative site has been identified, and efforts are underway to mobilise funds to build an appropriate facility on that particular site,” he said.
Prime Minister Mitchell also announced that beginning in January, the police force will be using a completely computerised system for managing vehicle licenses.
In addition, he said that plans are afoot to allow vehicle owners to pay their vehicle license fees online.
According to Dr. Mitchell, this new system will reduce the long lines and waiting time involved in paying the annual vehicle license fees.
As Minister of National Security, Dr. Mitchell reported that significant progress has been made by RGPF in improving general response to reports and implementing measures to reduce crime which has resulted in an increase in the confiscation of illicit drugs, dangerous weapons, and improvements in crime detection.
He disclosed that a modern Immigration Border Management Control System will be implemented for the enhancement of regional integration with respect to hassle-free travel using E-Gates.
According to Dr. Mitchell, this new system will also help to improve security to combat transnational criminality, terrorism and human trafficking.
In her contribution to the debate on the budget, Implementation Minister Alexandra Otway-Noel also referred to the success story of the police force.
The female Government Minister who previously served as Minister of Tourism observed that Grenada is considered as one of the safest destinations in the Caribbean, and RGPF has a major part to play in keeping it that way.
She announced that during the year some 133 Police Officers were afforded the opportunity to participate in regional and international training.
She said that in 2016, focus will be on strengthening the organisational structure of the force to ensure that statutory obligations in preventing and detecting crime is maintained.
The Implementation Minister disclosed that also in 2016, government will revise the legislation framework that guides the administration of the Naturalisation and Permanent Residence process.
Grenada will be moving into a new visa system which will see visas being printed electronically into passports which Otway-Noel believes will protect against identity theft and forgery, and in keeping with international standards.
She said this is essential to ensure that the necessary support structure is implemented to foster effective immigration control processes.
Focus was also placed on the operations of Her Majesty Prisons at Richmond Hill, St. George’s.
Otway-Noel reported that there was a reduction in the prison population from 525 inmates in 2014 to 425 in 2015.
At the time of addressing Parliament last week Thursday, she placed the prison population at 470 inmates.
The female Government Minister informed the House that the refocusing of the mandate from safe custody of inmates to rehabilitation has contributed to the reduction in the prison population.
According to her, prison inmates are now exposed to a number of programmes that will equip them with the necessary skills to become better law-abiding citizens on their release from custody.
She said the rehabilitation programme and building human resource capacity at the prison have also led to a significant reduction and almost the disappearance of violence within the prison.
The prison chief is a former army officer in the disbanded People’s Revolutionary Army (PRA), Lieutenant Ashley “Ram” Folkes.