Outraged! The mood in St. Kitts as murder rate climbs

By My Vue News.com Staff Reporter

Tuesday, 6th June, 2023, (My Vue News.com)-Something is dreadfully wrong in St. Kitts & Nevis. The violent crime wave is once again on the rise. Citizens are reacting, expressing their shock and horror.

Three murders in less than 24 hours must be cause for urgent and decisive action, led by the government and its security forces, but also with some assistance from the public and other stakeholder groups and organizations.

A tally of fifteen murders, so far in 2023, and 22 overall, since the Dr. Terrence Drew Administration took control of the country and the management of national security, after the 5th August election of 2022, must be a worrying thought for all.

The latest victim, is a well-known personality and businessman from Central Basseterre, known by everyone, simply as OJ, who was the owner of the “Watch No Face” food establishment.

His killing, which occurred in the early hours of Tuesday, (6th June, 2023), on the F.T. Williams Highway, close to Buckley’s, came hours after the double homicide on Monday morning, of a man and woman, on the Old Rectory Road in Dorset.

Leader of the Opposition People’s Action Movement, (PAM), Shawn Richards, called on the Federal Government to act and to speak out against the current surge in violence, offering possible strategies to be employed to curb the killings.

“We should have been counting employment figures for our young people, instead of deaths, “said Richards, in a social media post.

Ordinary citizens too have used their social media platforms to call for action from the government, but more so to denounce the recent killings.

“Lord have mercy on this little Federation! Where is the love man? Senseless killings for what? Makes my heart so heavy…Imagine waking up, doing your daily hustle not knowing it will be the last time…”, wrote one concerned individual.

After the homicides on Monday, the government issued a press release, in part, stating that a task force has been established to implement a plan of action.

The Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis remains committed to the maintenance of law and order and the safety and security of citizens and residents,” said the release.

It continued, “In keeping with his thrust to ensure that sustainable national development is a priority, Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis and Minister of National Security, Hon Dr. Terrance Drew, has commissioned a National Security Taskforce to initiate the rollout of a new initiative that approaches crime and violence from a public health perspective.”

They said crime and violence will be tackled as a “Public Health Issue.”

The task force is headed by Prime Minister Drew, who is also the Minister of National Security. It also includes Dr. Izben Williams, a psychiatrist, and senior management officials from across the Government, including the Ministry of National Security, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Social Development, and the Prime Minister’s Office.

The release did not indicate if representation will also be included from Members of Parliament who sit on the opposition benches.

However, the Leader of the Opposition, Mark Brantley, has suggested that a symposium be organized to address the issue, and in such a forum, a place should be reserved for the opposition.

He also said that the high number of killings “suggests that we are on a most dangerous and destabilizing path.”

In his statement, the PAM leader asked the government to “tell us what is your strategy to curb the ugliness of crime. The sooner you can assure us, is the sooner we can feel safe again.”

However, the government said that it has a plan that will soon be rolled out. A team they stated, “is currently developing a comprehensive and scientifically proven action plan to implement and sustain a culture of non-violence within the Federation.”

The initiative added the government release,” will take a holistic approach incorporating national security, social development, education, and health.”
Several programmes will be rolled out to target children ages six (6) to twelve (12) years and adolescents ages thirteen (13) to nineteen (19) years, 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 our current laws.

Photos: Latest homicide victim, OJ

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