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Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 - Caribbean

Publisher Child Soldiers International
Publication Date 20 May 2008
Cite as Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 - Caribbean, 20 May 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/486cb0f128.html [accessed 19 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Population: 505,000
Government Armed Forces: see text
Compulsary Recruitment Age: not applicable
Voluntary Recruitment Age: 18-19
Voting Age: 18
Optional Protocol: Dominica acceded 20 September 2002
Other Treaties: GC AP I, GC AP II, CRC, ILO 182


Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines had no military forces; security was the responsibility of their police forces. Saint Kitts and Nevis had a small military force that patrolled jointly with the police. There were no reports of under-18s in these security forces.

In addition to the treaties listed above, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have ratified the ICC. Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have ratified the ILO Minimum Age Convention 138.

Government:

National recruitment legislation and practice

The police force in Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was each country's sole security force. None maintained military armed forces, although the police forces carried out a range of security duties and the police force in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines included a coastguard and a special unit with paramilitary training. The police force in Dominica had around 400 officers, in Grenada about 750, and in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines approximately 850.1

Saint Kitts and Nevis had a defence force consisting of an infantry unit and a coastguard.2 Its police force could also be employed for defence against external aggression.3

Recruitment to the security forces was voluntary. In Dominica and Saint Lucia, the minimum age for recruitment to the police force was 18.4 In Grenada and in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines the minimum age was 19.5 The minimum age for recruitment to the defence or police forces in Saint Kitts and Nevis was 18.6

Military training and military schools

In Grenada police officers received 18 weeks' training at the Police Training School.7 In Saint Lucia the cadet corps, a paramilitary youth organization, enrolled around 180 members in 2005 and developed new units in all secondary schools and the community college in 2006.8 A focus of its activities in 2006 was training in emergency and disaster relief.9 In Saint Vincent and the Grenadines a small cadet unit formed part of the police force.10

In Saint Kitts and Nevis secondary-school pupils of 13 years and above could join the cadet corps, which was organized by the defence forces but could not be used in military operations. The defence forces conducted basic training of troops, and advanced training was provided by regional, Canadian, UK and US armed forces.11

Developments:

In June 2004 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Dominica improve its birth registration system, develop its national plan of action for youth and ensure that children defined in Dominica as "young persons" between the ages of 14 and 18 received the same protection as those under the age of 14 defined as "children".12

The government of Saint Lucia reported to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2004 that it worked with civil society groups to advance the issue of child rights and had designated 2003-4 as the Year of the Child.13 In September 2005 the Committee recommended ratification of the Optional Protocol.14

International standards

Saint Kitts and Nevis ratified the ILO Minimum Age Convention 138 in June 2005 and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in August 2006. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines ratified the ILO Minimum Age Convention 138 in July 2006.


1 Matthias Lestrade, "Crime Management and Challenges in the 21st Century", National Symposium on Crime – Commonwealth of Dominica, 2003, www.da-academy.org/; Royal Grenada Police Force, www.spiceisle.com/rgpf; CIA, World Factbook 2007 (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines).

2 Stanford Conway, "SKNDF: Over a Century and Counting", St Kitts – Nevis Observer, 21 October 2005, www.thestkittsnevisobserver.com; CIA, above note 1.

3 Saint Kitts and Nevis, 2003 Police Act, www.police.gov.kn.

4 Initial report of Dominica to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/8/Add.48, 15 October 2003; Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, Training information, www.rslpf.com.

5 Royal Grenada Police Force, Training School; Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Service Commissions, www.gov.vc.

6 CIA, above note 1; Saint Kitts and Nevis, 2003 Police Act.

7 Royal Grenada Police Force, Training School.

8 "St Lucia Cadet Corps on recruitment drive", Caribbean Net News, 9 October 2006, www.caribbeannetnews.com.

9 Government of Saint Lucia, "Cadet Corps to attend Disaster Management Training", press release, 15 March 2006, www.stlucia.gov.lc.

10 US Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2003.

11 Conway, above note 2.

12 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of initial report submitted by Dominica, Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.238, 30 June 2004.

13 Initial report of Saint Lucia to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/28/Add.23, 13 October 2004.

14 Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of initial report submitted by Saint Lucia, Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.258, 21 September 2005.

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