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Haitian police officers on exchange program in The Bahamas

NASSAU, Bahamas – Police officers from the Republic of Haiti are in The Bahamas taking part in a law enforcement exchange program set up after Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security the Hon. Cynthia Pratt and Commissioner of Police Paul Farquaharson visited that country in November, 2006.

After observing a young police force in Haiti, the Deputy Prime Minister said she felt it was necessary for the Royal Bahamas Police Force to work with and train the Haitian police officers.

“We are sister countries,” Deputy Prime Minister Pratt said. “We need each other and we both have limited resources. But if we put our efforts together, to assist one another, we can grow together and we certainly can help one another and the Caribbean itself will be more secure.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security the Hon. Cynthia Pratt speaks about the success of the law enforcement exchange program between the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Haitian Police Force at a press conference at Police headquarters on Monday, April 30, 2007. Shown looking on from left are Commissioner of Police Paul Farquharson, along with Haitian Police Force officers Germain Saint Fleur and Pierre Yavin.(BIS Photo: Tim Aylen)

Training began for four officers on April 16, and four others are to follow once these officers return home.

Commandant of the Royal Bahamas Police College, Chief Superintendent Shannandor H. Evans explained the program the officers will be following while in The Bahamas, at a press briefing on Monday, April 30, 2006.

Two of the officers have completed training in public order and the other two are currently attached to Community Relations, under which the Urban Renewal Program comes. Those two will be attached to that area for about three months, Chief Supt. Evans said.

The Haitian police officers are not only undergoing training but they are also doing some training themselves, he said.

The third group of officers to come will receive training in drug investigations for five weeks and the fourth group will benefit from a VIP protection training and anti-kidnapping segment.

The Deputy Prime Minister said that there are plans to introduce urban renewal to Haiti as she believes it would serve that country well.

“The same kind of social ills that take place here takes place in Haiti as well, but on a larger scale,” she said.

Once an Urban Renewal Programme is set up properly in the inner cities, the police would have a better grip on what is happening in a community, the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“You would have all of the agencies in the community along with the police, and the police would be gaining information, sharing information all at the same time, which will really benefit the whole program.

“While communities in The Bahamas may be made up of 4,000 or 5,000 people, in Haiti communities are made up of maybe 40,000 or 50,000 and a lot of them are youngsters or teenagers who are vulnerable to getting into any kind of problems with the unemployment – the same sort of things we are faced with.

“It is just at a more advanced stage in Haiti than it is here and that is why we thought that urban renewal would have so much impact once it gets there, and we get it set up properly so that it will be able to address the social problems,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

Inspector Germain St. Fleur, the senior police officer from Haiti participating in the training, thanked the Bahamian government and the Royal Bahamas Police Force for allowing him and his fellow officers to come and benefit from the training provided.

“I can say that we have already learned a lot and this type of cooperation is very important for us and we wish it will give us the opportunity to improve our police force in each of the fields we receive training,” he said.

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