The latest, which brings the total to 26 for the year, occurred last night, (Wednesday, 17th August, 2011), in the Buckley’s area of West Basseterre, shortly after 10:00pm.
This new homicide also makes it the second highest number of people to have ever been murdered in St. Kitts & Nevis, since the period of slavery that ended 177 years ago. It is now shameful. The current record of murders in one year is 27, in 2009.
The shooting is said to have taken place shortly after a candle light ceremony for another murder victim, 27 year old David Thomas of Buckley’s who was killed on Sunday 4th August, 2011.
The latest victim is Leon Thompson also of Buckley’s. Police have confirmed that another man was shot along with Thompson, but he is currently receiving medical attention in hospital.
A few days ago, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Mark Brantley, urged Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas to end his overseas trip and immediately return to the country to deal with the recent killings. That was when the country had 3 murders in 3 days…now it is 4 in four days and people are wondering if the Prime Minister will take the advice and head home.
Recently, the matter of National Security has been under much scrutiny, as members of the public demand radical changes to help strengthen the country’s crime fighting capabilities. Such calls have also come from leading civil society groups, including the Chamber of Commerce, Hotel & Tourism Association, Christian Council and others, who have asked for the re-assignment of the chief executive who oversees the management of the security forces, Permanent Secretary Astona Browne. At present, it is understood that Mrs. Browne is on vacation leave.
In a current Poll on MiyVue.com, members of the public have expressed their strong agreement that the Prime Minister should re-assign Mrs. Browne and allow the Minister of National Security, Mr. Sam Condor, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, to appoint someone whom he feels he could work with to achieve the desired results. He does not feel that this is possible with the current office holder. So far however, the Prime Minister seems unwilling to do so. In the MiyVue.com Poll, some 91.9% of viewers felt that Browne should be re-assigned.
In the meantime, Police Commissioner, Austin Williams has recently lashed out against the Permanent Secretary for her disrespect for the Police High Command and her unhelpful comments that the Commissioner felt could only do harm to the operations of his department.
Another criticism that has been placed at the feet of the Prime Minister and government generally, is that no one has seen it fit to go to the airwaves to provide some re-assurances to the populace that they are taking action and that everything is being done to protect the citizens of the country. As one woman said at the candle light ceremony last night…we have heard “not a wud (word) from dem”.