He was described as being insensitive, uncaring, out of touch and ‘could not be bothered’ with what was happening or what was being said about his poor response to the growing crime wave. In part he has to accept the blame for this perception given his remarks a few years ago that he accepts no responsibility for the crime in the country.
He was asked to remove Permanent Secretary Astona Browne and allow then Minister of National Security Sam Condor to have a PS with whom he can work in a harmonious relationship.
In the end he fired the Minister, took over his portfolio and now the public awaits the role to be assigned to Mrs. Browne.
However, the Prime Minister appears to have had a change of heart and is now accepting that he is the one who is indeed responsible to ensure the crime wave is tackled with the strongest response from government.
In other words, Prime Minister Douglas told his fellow citizens of St. Kitts & Nevis, on Wednesday night, (31st August, 2011), that the buck stops with him.
“I believe that crime in our country has reached the stage where the people of St. Kitts and Nevis must be able to definitively and unequivocally hold its Prime Minister responsible for its resolution over a reasonable period of time. We cannot continue to pass blame from one person to another, and to randomly pick and choose the persons and entities on which we would wish to lay blame,” said Dr. Douglas.
“The buck stops with the Prime Minister whom you elected to serve you and protect you with the help of the Cabinet and the various organs and institutions of Government. Indeed I am convinced that crime represents such a huge risk to our society and to all of our achievements as a Nation, that it must be addressed at the very highest level of our Government,” continued the PM.
Notwithstanding these tough words of acceptance, the public continues to criticize the Prime Minister. Now, they are claiming that he is only trying to take the credit for any possible positive results that could amount from the efforts previously started by Sam Condor and the new initiatives planned by the incoming Commissioner of Police.
Even if this is so, some argue that it is the entire country that would benefit if the plans are successful and the crime level is significantly reduced.
On Wednesday night Douglas said, “Tomorrow, (1st September, 2011), our newly recruited Police Commissioner, a proud and distinguished son of the soil, will formally assume the mantle of leadership of the St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force and we expect that he will help to modernize the Force; enhance discipline among the various ranks in the Force; and boost the effectiveness of the Force in fighting crime, bringing criminals to justice and carrying out the overall mandate of the Police Force. In addition, today by our Parliamentary debates, we are passing the Gang (Prohibition and Prevention) Act, 2011, which will dramatically enhance our capacity to undermine and counter dysfunctional gang activities including the many crimes committed by our young people in gangs. But these actions along with the many initiatives that we have been introducing in recent months to combat crime, must be bolstered by even greater accountability to our people, through the monitoring, general policy oversight, and regular reporting to the people by policy-makers occupying the highest levels of Government.
Douglas said his Government will do its part to eradicate this scourge of crime and violence in our beloved country. “We take full responsibility for effective law enforcement in our country. Indeed, we have always identified law and order as well as the protection of our people and their property as a critical objective of the Government. We are convinced that the initiatives we have introduced, and will continue to introduce, should reduce crime dramatically,” said the PM.
It is a fact that the criminals are responsible for the crimes they have committed, stated Mr. Douglas. “Those who have committed these heinous crimes, especially homicides, will not be allowed to rest easy. No option under the law will be excluded in tracking down these killers, in charging them and punishing them. The tears, pain and suffering of the families of the victims must not be in vain,” committed Douglas.
The Prime Minister indicated that the law enforcement agencies require the full support of our community. He said, we must continue to pursue our long-term initiatives aimed at crime prevention and remove the culture of fear from our communities.
“It is our homes and our schools that are the factories that produce criminals. Hence, my Government will continue to refine our education system and support our families through training in parenting and appropriate intervention where necessary. We are also pursuing an expansive social agenda aimed at getting to the root of crime and violence and countering deviant behaviour. I encourage our people, our families, our institutions, our Non-Governmental Organizations, our Churches, our Schools, our political parties to lend a helping hand. This is not the time for political haggling. It is time for Action on every front,” stated the Labour Administration leader.