There are actually some in government, not only in St. Kitts & Nevis, but within the Caribbean Community, CARICOM, who would prefer, if the media were to elect not to publish stories that highlight crime and violence. The only problem with such a request is that the media would be failing in their civic duty to alert citizens about the dangers that surround them.
At the same time, both government and the media do accept that despite the recent escalation in homicides, in particular, St. Kitts and Nevis remain a relatively safe country for both residents and visitors.
However, all this could be at risk if somehow, a solution is not found to rid the nation of all these senseless killings; the latest of which occurred just before midnight on Saturday, 9th July, 2011, in the district known as West Farm, just on the outskirts of Basseterre.
The death last night of 19 year old Jamone Hanley brings to 20, the number of persons who have been killed in St. Kitts & Nevis, since 1st January, 2011. Eighteen of these have taken place on St. Kitts while only 2 occurred on the sister- island, Nevis. The statistics get even worse when one understands that in less than a week, St. Kitts has recorded four (4) murders; a new record. This is horrifying, not sensational.
Police have confirmed that Hanley was gun down by assailants, who at this moment are unknown. They also confirm that the victim was struck by three bullets to various parts of the body.
Meantime, residents continue to complain and to express concern about the inability of our police to solve these crimes, partly because they do not, as it has been previously reported, have the necessary resources to mange such high level of homicides.
It was a few weeks ago that the Minister of National Security, Mr. Sam Condor, indicated that his ministry and the police have established a new crime plan that they hope to roll out shortly. He also stated that consideration is being given to create a specialized homicide department, so that dedicated resources could be focused on this issue.
As one member of the public uttered last Thursday, (7th , during the shooting incident at Upper Market Street, “It is not so much that we are worried about all these shootings and killings; we are just fed up that the murders are hardly ever solved because they don’t find the bad guys”.
In that Market Street incident, an innocent bystander, an 81 year old woman was shot, but not killed. The gun man is said to have missed his real target, hitting the grandmother who happened to be in the area, not too far from her home.
Police however, have made some arrests in the recent shootings and have also benefited from reliable intelligence on the identity of some of the suspects in the other killings.
These included Ricardo Pemberton in Old Road last Thursday, 7th July; Wendell Wilkinson, at Union Street, Haynes Smith Village, also on Thursday 7th July. The other death was that of Brian “Ras Benji” Farrell, on Monday 4th July.