The Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) added six more bicycles to its Bicycle Patrol Unit on Monday 26th April 2021, courtesy of the SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).
The new Fuji SR Suntour bicycles will be used in the Gros Islet district and compliment a previous donation of bicycles to the RSLPF by the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) after the Bicycle Patrol Unit was piloted nearly three years ago.
The official handover ceremony was held at Police Headquarters at Chesterfield on Bridge Street, Castries, on Monday this week. TEF Programme Coordinator, Donette Ismael, said the donation was not only timely, but also a moment to celebrate the positives the police force has been recording even during a challenging COVID-19 pandemic era.
Ismael noted that the TEF, the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PMDU) in the Office of the Prime Minister, and the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) have been in dialogue for over a year now on ways to better serve the community. The three organizations have collaborated on initiatives such as delivering hampers to various communities and providing support to the Gros Islet Police Station. “Today, the TEF continues to show its support with a donation of bicycles to help the police in their patrol duties as they serve and protect our citizens,” Ismael said.
She added that the Fund, which depends on the generous donations of visitors to the island, has been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with contributions stopping completely during lockdown periods, and only recently resuming. Now, more than ever, there is a great need to focus on giving back, she said.
TEF Chairman, Winston Anderson, said anything that negatively impacts the comfort and safety of the traveler is a threat to not only tourism, but the entire country, adding that Saint Lucia’s tourism must be everyone’s business. “A safe country will no doubt further entice visitors to our beautiful island,” said Anderson. “We believe that the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force is a key stakeholder in tourism and a valuable partner to the Saint Lucia Hospitality & Tourism Association. We feel honoured to be able to support your mission to provide a professional police service in partnership with all communities to create a safe environment for all the people of Saint Lucia.” Since its inception, the Bicycle Patrol Unit has provided increased mobility and quicker response, especially in congested areas. The Unit has also been able to build a strong relationship within the communities which redound to an effective way to create a safe environment. Another added value: the bicycles are environmentally friendly since they eliminate the need for fuel and also ensure that police officers maintain a healthy lifestyle. Superintendent Elvis Thomas, who has responsibility for the Northern Division, said one of his first tasks when he was initially assigned to Gros Islet Police Station was to form fruitful partnerships, including seeking assistance from the SLHTA.
This was essential, he said, since the police force is a government department and does not always have all the required resources at its disposal.“The six bicycles are mainly for the Gros Islet district because I noticed that we don’t always have all the vehicles at our disposal,” he said. “With the bicycles in the city working so well for us, I thought it was necessary and important to introduce a bicycle patrol especially in the Rodney Bay area. They afford a quicker response and allow for a greater police presence.”
Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police, Milton Desir, said the Bicycle Patrol Unit has already yielded many positive results for the police force: “We’ve seen and heard the comments from the public indicating the presence of those bicycles and the quick response, especially at schools whenever there is an issue. So we believe that the bicycles are here to stay and we will continue to add more to the fleet.
”With the Bicycle Patrol Unit already riding high on a steady wave of successes, Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police, Crusita Descartes-Pelius, appealed to interested individuals and organizations to support the police force in strengthening the Unit.“I would be happy if other corporate citizens would take a page from the SLHTA,” she said
Establishments that facilitate the collection of donations to the TEF include Anse Chastanet Resort, Bay Gardens Resorts, Cap Maison, Calabash Cove Resort & Spa, Coco Palm Resort, Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa, Hotel Chocolat Estate, Jade Mountain Resort, Ladera Resort, Rendezvous, Royal Saint Lucian Resort & Spa, Sandals Resorts, Sea Spray Cruises Ltd., Serenity Vacations & Tours, St. James’s Club Morgan Bay, Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort, The Body Holiday, The Landings Resorts & Spa, and Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort & Spa.