By Carlena Knight
Law enforcement officials now have the opportunity to get firsthand access to medical care after their first ever purpose-created clinic was opened.
The Maple Southwell-Walter Medical Clinic was officially opened on Tuesday at the Police Headquarters on American Road, following a brief ceremony on the grounds.
The clinic, which was once the female officers’ quarters on the compound, was retrofitted and named in honour of the country’s first female police inspector, Maple Southwell-Walter. It will cater solely to police officers.
Walter enlisted in the force in 1957 and served for 20 years before retiring.
Present at the ceremony was Police Commissioner Atlee Rodney who spoke on the importance of having such a facility.
“Many of us have heard the phrase, a healthy nation is a wealthy nation. For us in the police force I would coin the phrase to say a healthy officer is an efficient officer.
“In the police force we continue to value the health of our officers. We are of the view that health and wellness play a critical role in our performance and that has been the motivating factor behind this initiative and it is of paramount importance that we as law enforcement officers are healthy and fit to perform our duties.
“Our duties can be very challenging both physically and mentally. Therefore, to have the facilities to assist us in that quest is admirable,” Rodney said.
Rodney touched on how important it is to have easy access to healthcare for lawmen, especially during the pandemic.
He said focus would now be placed on opening a state-of-the-art gym to improve officers’ physical fitness as well.
“We are of the view that easy access and timely healthcare are critical to our well-being. So, today we celebrate this milestone to have our own medical clinic on this compound.
“Having said that, I now focus my attention on physical fitness because just as we are here unveiling and dedicating the medical clinic so, too, we are eagerly looking forward to see a modern state-of-the-art gym being built on the compound.
“I am also hearing another important pioneer of the force will have his name attached to the gym,” he stated.
Rodney thanked the Cabinet, the American University of Antigua (AUA) and Project Coordinator ASP Logan Joseph for their efforts in ensuring the historic project was a success.
A doctor will be at the facility at least four days each week.
Rodney explained that although the clinic will initially cater solely for police officers, once its services expand, they will be extended to officers’ family members too.
The addition of this facility, which features a waiting area, doctor’s office, two bathrooms and an examination room, was the brainchild of Commissioner Rodney and comes at an opportune time as local law enforcement are currently celebrating Police Week.