St Kitts sets up task force to deal with crime

Basseterre – The St Kitts-Nevis government has appointed a National Security Taskforce to initiate a new initiative that approaches crime and violence from a public health perspective.

The Taskforce, which is headed by Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr Terrence Drew, also includes senior management officials from across the government and Dr Izben Williams, a consultant psychiatrist and head of the Department of Behavioral Sciences & Medical Ethics at the Windsor University School of Medicine

Prime Minister Drew said that “societal peace and stability are prerequisites for true social and economic development and for the accomplishment of our progressive Sustainable Island State Agenda.

“I strongly believe that what is learned can be unlearned if there is early application of best-practice interventions from various sectors.”

The authorities said that the initiative will take a holistic approach incorporating national security, social development, education, and health.

Several programmes will be unveiled targeting children ages six to 12 years and adolescents ages 13 to 19 to help remodel their thinking and behaviour by strengthening conflict resolution skills, critical thinking, and analytical skills and boost their self-esteem.

In addition to social interventions, the concept will embrace criminal justice by enhancing law enforcement initiatives and reviewing some of Federation’s current laws.

Opposition Leader, Mark Brantley, has called on the government to convene urgently, a national symposium on crime, after the twin-island Federation Monday recorded a double killing that pushed the murder toll to 14 so far this year.

“Crime is not a government problem. Crime is not an opposition problem. Crime is not a political party problem. Crime is an all-of-society problem. If unchecked, it can derail all the progress we have made as a proud Nation and rend asunder our plans for shared prosperity and a sustainable future,” Brantley said in a statement.

Police confirmed that a man and a woman were gunned down on Monday and that the killings were the second double murder recorded so far this year, following the first on March 25.

Official figures show that over the last three years, the twin island Federation recorded 10 murders in 2020, 13 in 2021 and 12 last year.

Brantley said that while it has become customary that when faced with increased criminality in the society, the opposition resorts immediately to attacking and blaming the government of the day, “it is an approach which has yielded and continues to yield no benefit”. (CMC)