Poll finds electorate pleased with crime reduction

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, January 28, 2020 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The dramatic turnaround in the peace and security environment throughout St. Kitts and Nevis, under the Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris-led Team Unity administration, has put the majority of citizens and residents of the Federation at ease.

This was reflected in the results of a national survey of public opinion conducted by the Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES) in October 2019. The findings of this survey – the second such survey carried out by CADRES in St. Kitts and Nevis in the last two years – was released to the public this month.

One-thousand persons in all 11 constituencies were interviewed using a methodology that is consistent with that which was used with all previous national surveys in St Kitts and Nevis.

Prominent pollster and Director at CADRES, Mr. Peter Wickham stated in a press release on the findings that the survey was particularly useful in helping to tell the story of an “evolving political outlook” in the Federation in comparison with 2018 data.

“As such, CADRES also asked persons about the issue of greatest concern to them and on this occasion, it was the Cost of Living (17%),” Mr. Wickham noted.

In a similar national poll carried out in June 2018, the issue of greatest concern to the electorate was crime and this was the main focus of 61% of the population.

Mr. Wickham concluded that “the dramatic shift in terms of the country’s main focus speaks volumes about the ability of the government to succeed in this regard.”

The unprecedented period of calm and peace being experienced across St. Kitts and Nevis is as a result of the Peace Initiative which commenced in February of 2019 when police engaged gang members during their operations, at which point some of these individuals indicated their desire to put an end to the violence that was taking place among them. The Police then sought the assistance of the Ministry of National Security, and an Interim Engagement Team comprising members of different sectors of society was put in place to work with the members to provide various levels of support to help them get involved in alternative lifestyles.

The initiative saw a drastic reduction in gang related homicides in the Federation. It also led to the surrendering of some 30 illegal firearms and close to 100 rounds of ammunition by a number of marginalized individuals.