The Daily Herald writes that the Dutch Caribbean Police Force KPCN together with the Dutch Royal Constabulary KMAR celebrated three years of existence marking the 10-10-10 constitutional transition that transformed the island into a Public Entity of the Netherlands.
The only event marking the historic moment was a poorly attended nondenominational service celebrating the young institutions. The personnel of the Prosecutor’s Office and Correctional Department as well as Lt. Governor Jonathan Johnson were present at the ceremony.
Major Windgrove Baker gave the welcome address and the congregation sang the Saba Anthem. Adventist Pastor Leroy Barry did the opening prayer with the first reading by Anglican lay reader Wilma Every. The Woods Sisters sang beautifully before the second reading by a police officer from Bonaire.
The homily was given by Adventist Pastor Melvin Alexander who highlighted the essential community role of law enforcement institutions as a ministry under public scrutiny. That visibility he said is an added reason to “lead exemplary lives as the public is observing how you execute the duties of the office given to you.” He stressed that the actions of one police individual reflect on all adding that “what we need from you is transparency, integrity, virtue, accountability and most of all what the public needs from you is love.”
He explained the need to debunk perceptions of police being “filled with hatred and anger” by showing compassion precisely towards those people in trouble who do not need further social abuse. Those who do not know to conduct themselves said the Pastor will seek to rectify their lives if they see genuine concern for them from the police.
Pastor Alexander pleaded with the police to show availability in listening to the troubles of the residents and to find the motive behind their behaviour instead of arresting them.
“Administering the right therapy and solution to their problems starts with asking and getting an answer so that you don’t see that individual as a victim ready for arrest or abuse, but as life in danger on the streets.” The Pastor spoke of the affection the police must show as a deterrent against “locking up individuals from the rest of society, making them tormented to face the community if and when they get out.”
Pastor Alexander loudly and repeatedly proclaimed “if the betterment of the people is not your best interest get out of the police force.” The voices of the few civilians gathered echoed that call. He added that hatred should have no place in the police force or “be administered to people out there. People don’t need as much someone to watch their behaviour but rather to show them a different behaviour.”
The Pastor asked the police force to counteract the social deficit of respect by showing affection and solidarity. He advised for introspection among the law enforcement institutions to improve reliance, saying “we are not at the same level of professionalism, but this is by no means an opportunity to criticize, ridicule and broadcast the truth about each other.”
Instead, he counselled the police to nurture professional improvement and give the moral and emotional support needed. Instead of driving by big vehicles he encouraged officers to change attitudes and become counsellors, social workers, spiritual leaders, teachers, mothers and fathers when those role models lack to reach out to those in trouble. “The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart” said the pastor heartening the police to understand the limitations of their social role.
Visiting Bishop Errol Brooks of the Anglican Diocese of the North eastern Caribbean and Aruba did the intercessory prayer followed by an address from the KPCN Saba Chief. The KPCN BES (Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba) Chief Superintendent Jossy Rosales presented floral arrangements to each church leader for their support.
KPCN Saba Chief Charles Smink read in Dutch the message of KPCN BES Chief Hildegard Buitink. He followed this with remarks in Dutch translated in English by Major Baker. Chief Smink expressed gratitude for the support of all Dutch Caribbean law enforcement stakeholders in improving the force, including the St. Maarten Police which augmented Saba’s force during Carnival. Wesleyan Holiness Church Pastor Vernon Liburd did the blessing and Catholic Father Dan Pastor did the closing prayer with the congregation singing a Christian hymn and the Dutch Anthem.