But for most Kittitians and Nevisians, the concerns about crime are usually focused on those committed with dangerous weapons such as guns and knives, especially when they end in the death of someone. Of late however, especially in Nevis, there has also been much unease about the heightened number of break-ins and robberies, affecting both native residents and expatriates who have made the island their new home.
While the government has given the assurance that they too are concerned, they are however indicating that crime, generally, is on a downward trajectory. At least that is what the country’s prime minister told nationals of the twin-island state, during a recent visit to the United States.
Prime Minister Harris was quoted in a government release on Monday as saying that “Crime is down.” However the release did not offer any statistics to support his position. However, local police officials too have shared the same sentiment, arguing that despite the spike in homicides, overall, crime is at a lower level.
He added, “Regardless of what the Opposition says on social media that is a fact.” Harris was referring to what some in the opposition have called ‘an aggressive’ campaign to spotlight recent criminal activities in the islands.
But Harris defended his administration by arguing that “The government has invested in creating a wholesome society and is seeing positive results. The government has also implemented a six point plan of action to address violent crimes in the country.”
Last week, when the Police High Command hosted what some in the public described as a disappointing press conference, Acting Commissioner, Stafford Liburd opined that their success in the Conaree drug bust was driven by elements of the same Six Point Crime Plan.
Harris however admitted to the overseas nationals that the fight against crime will take more than the actions of the police.
He therefore made a passionate appeal for all and sundry to “become involved in the moral grounding of young people, particularly males, as this can positively impact the creation of a wholesome society with its members at peace with each other.”
Harris and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mark Brantley, addressed over 300 nationals at a town hall meeting in the Bronx, New York, on Sunday 3rd October.
Harris pledged his Government’s continued support for all nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis living in the United States of America.
Success in crime fighting was one of the achievements stated by Harris, since the coalition government took office in February 2015.
A 10 million dollar budgetary support to the Nevis Island Administration; removal of VAT on food, medicines and funeral expenses; an end to the shift system at the Basseterre High School (BHS) and; payment of 16 million dollars to former sugar workers, were also touted as elements of the government’s record to date.
However, nationals in New York also used the occasion to place on record, some of their own concerns, including, the improvement in the delivery of health care, plans of the Government to attract nationals to return home, legislation with respect to term limits for the prime minister, the poor attitude of service providers in the private and public sectors, the situation with the Sugar Workers Restoration Fund payout and the situation with debtor’s court.