New Coast Guard base taking shape in St Kitts
BASSETERRE – Construction of a new base for the men and women of the Coast Guard Unit of the St Kitts-Nevis Defence Force is progressing smoothly as they work towards a November deadline.
Demolition of the structure began some months ago and the rebuilding phase is now in its fifth week.
The work crew, made up of personnel from the Coast Guard, residents of Her Majesty’s Prison and people employed by contractor Sheldon Hamilton of Hammy’s Construction, has been working tirelessly and collaboratively.
The building has been expanded and divided into three sections.
The first section will feature office spaces, barracks, operations room, and a mess hall to accommodate cooking and dining.
The second section contains an engineering and electrical workshop where maintenance of the vessels and other equipment can be performed, as well as a canteen to sell goods to the men and women on base.
The third section, which previously was owned by another agency, was reassigned for the Coast Guard purposes, and will serve as a storage area.
Midshipman Kenish Garnette, Acting Executive Officer of the Unit, said the facility would be a great improvement over the previous structure.
“The existing structure before was only half of this entire building. The forefront was basically empty. We had a board infrastructure at the back and due to termite infestation we had to move from here and renovate the entire existing structure,” he said.
“Because of the initiative from the government, they actually gave us the middle section of the (sugar) factory building that they used to store tires in, so now we have a new structure on one end and the outer portion is completely new.”
Midshipman Garnette commended the work crew and said Coast Guard members are eager to move into their new home.
“I have never seen morale at such a peak level in the Coast Guard before especially since the men and women of the Coast Guard are actively involved in the construction,” he said, recalling his 18 years of service with the Unit.
“They (know) they are an integral part of the construction process so that at the end of the day they can say, we actually assisted in constructing our Coast Guard Base.”
The acting executive officer thanked the government for supporting the project, which should lead to improved efficiency and effectiveness in border protection.
In the past, Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Dr Timothy Harris has repeatedly said government was committed to improving the infrastructure for the men and women that serve in law enforcement and national defence. (SKNIS)