The Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Transportation, and Investment’s Beach Safety and Security Unit held a special ceremony today (Thurs) to commemorate a significant milestone in the unit’s growth and its commitment to beach safety in Antigua and Barbuda. During the event, six officers within the unit were presented with their official IDs, making them special constables.
Mr. Mclean Lawrence, a Technical Trainer within the unit and one of the special constables, highlighted the unit’s history and growth since its establishment in 2003. From its humble beginnings with 10 members, the unit has now expanded to a dedicated staff of 60. Mr. Lawrence emphasized the unit’s unwavering dedication to maintaining and securing beaches.
Mr. Lawrence also commended his colleagues – Egan Samuel, Akeem Daley, Denton Williams, Travis Gumbs, and Peter Slowe – for their hard work, determination, and successful completion of a rigorous training program at the Sir Wright F George Police Academy in May 2021. This program equipped them with the necessary skills to enhance beach safety and security.
Tourism Minister, the Hon. Charles Fernandez, commended the exceptional efforts of the special constables. He acknowledged their commitment to training and their wholehearted embrace of their new responsibilities.
“It is evident that these dedicated individuals surpass many of their counterparts in terms of fitness and professionalism. Their commitment to training and their desire to serve our community deserve our utmost appreciation,” the Minister stated.
Minister Fernandez emphasized that the safety and well-being of Antiguans and Barbudans are top priorities in order to create a safe haven for residents and offer an exceptional experience to all visitors. Antigua and Barbuda is recognized as the safest destination in the region.
Mr. St. Claire Soleyn, Director of Policy and Planning within the Ministry, explained the significance of installing the special constables, stating that it is a long-awaited milestone and a crucial step towards achieving the Ministry’s goals. He mentioned that the enhanced security measures, including the installation of towers and improved communication systems, will strengthen their ability to ensure safety and provide a comfortable experience for both locals and tourists.
Mr. Soleyn also highlighted the pride of Antigua and Barbuda in being recognized as one of the safest destinations. He emphasized that this distinction should not be taken lightly, as potential visitors rely on the experiences shared by others through online platforms. Therefore, continuous efforts should be made to exceed expectations,” Mr. Soleyn continued.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Everton Jeffers, who played a pivotal role in making the training of the special constables possible, emphasized the significance of their training, reminding them of their newfound status as professionals. He encouraged them to carry out their duties with dedication and confidence, as they have the necessary skills to handle various situations effectively. Whether it’s attending to individuals in distress or addressing disturbances, the officers are now a reliable resource for maintaining beach security.
As part of their role, they may be called upon by the Police for aid whenever required. Their comprehensive training has equipped them to handle these responsibilities with proficiency and ensure the safety and well-being of the community. The Special constables have the power of arrest.
The Beach Safety and Security Unit, under the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Transportation, and Investment, plays a vital role in promoting tourism and safeguarding the natural beauty of Antigua and Barbuda’s beaches. Through ongoing training and efforts to maintain high standards of professionalism, the BSSU strives to uphold the country’s reputation as a premier tourist destination.