In a recently-issued press release, the Ministry indicated that it has noted “the national frustration, anxiety, dismay and anger over the unprecedented level of anti-social behaviour. Recent incidents have been particularly traumatic and difficult for the Federation; the prospect of a few misguided individuals causing economic sabotage is understood. Ministry personnel are also affected when health facilities are invaded by hostile mobs.”
That ministry has expressed its view that in order to adequately address this national issue “reflection and vigilance” as well as “root cause analysis” are key applications, as opposed to vigilantism, doom and gloom. “Collective responsibility for security means neighbor looking out for neighbor, and the neighborhood providing information to the security, health and protective services.”
The Ministry, making reference to research, training and experience, suggested that crime and violence is as a direct result of “disorders of thought and emotion”, which are resultant of other social ills. It also suggests that increased levels of violence and crime is a result of the acquisition of deadly weapons by organised “teenagers and young adults (male and female) who have conduct and anti-social disorders.”
“Personality disorders and frank psychoses are brought on by mind-altering events occurring mostly in the period from conception throughearly childhood and early adolescence. Toxic events include exposure to alcohol during pregnancy, neglect of the care and attention, overexposure to violent and sexual media, the harmful use of alcohol and narcotics, physical and emotional abuse, and rape.
“Sexual violence against girls (and boys) is pervasive and persistent for decades. An indicator of the epidemic of sexual violence is the 19% teen motherhood rate. Every year since 2000, an average of 50 girls under the age of 17 years become new mothers. Currently in St. Kitts, there are 20 pregnant girls attending school. Girl mothers, by definition, are immature and incapable of guiding and supervising children. The risk of abuse and neglect of children is higher.”
The Ministry’s press release explained that most important and most cost-effective violence prevention and mitigation interventions are human development services for which government funding amounts to some EC$200M, according to 2010 projections.
Thus, the Ministry has reemphasized “its commitment to enhance and expand the spectrum of mental health services from prevention and promotion to treatment and rehabilitation. Expert care, treatment and support are available through community health centers, pastors, teachers and counselors. Abused and neglected children must be promptly referred to the Child Protection Service. The Foster Care Program usually has children in need of a caring home. The Ministry of Education offers free schooling from early childhood to the tertiary level, a reading enrichment program and parenting skills training. Similar programs are operated by non-government organizations in both islands. They are all worthwhile investments for a better future and are recommended for ongoing material support.