Dr. Neals J. Chitan
As the new year 2020 begins, it can be declared that St. Kitts-Nevis has recorded the lowest homicide rate for the past decade in the year 2019, an unprecedented victory for the Harris led government which is now campaigning for another term in leadership of the Federation in the upcoming election. However, amidst the congratulations due, we must piece together the methodologythat brought that “peace” and achieve this 2019 crime reduction victory, if this trend is to be sustained. That analysing process we refer to as the “D” or “diagnosing” in our copyrighted EDER© Approach to sustainable crime reduction, and to avoid doing so will make SKN more susceptible to repeating its recent crime rate history again.
The so-called “Peace Initiative” now existing in SKN has yielded the dream of the Ministry of National Security and it’s Minister and Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris,and as a Crime Reduction Consultant who was contracted and whohas worked hard to help realize this dream, my administrative assistant Ann Chitan and I are proud to have been actively involved in this success.
However, to identify and understand the system that yielded this so-called “Peace Initiative,” an algebraic method of analysis must be used, where we consider the known factors to figure out the unknown. Being a social skill consultant to the Ministry of National Security for the purpose of helping reduce the steep homicide rate, it was imperative that my proposed modus operandi not fit Albert Einstein’s definition of madness of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. And it was evident that by the frequent calls on our TV and radio programs that SKN nationals were not going to let this happen, as they expressed their dire frustration with the crime climate of their country.
So, proposing the EDER© Approach, our flagship copyrighted four-dimensional model for sustainable crime reduction to the Ministry of National Security, Permanent Secretary Osmond Petty quickly identified it as ground-breaking and a workable framework for SKN, and swung it into action immediately, and I applaud his vision and leadership despite the intense opposition he faced.
Now, as we look back at the rolling out of the EDER© framework in St. Kitts-Nevis 2016- 2019, we can identify three prominent componentsthat were deliberately emphasized, and these we must assess to see the base of the ‘Peace on earth” which now exist in SKN. Firstly, I must applaud the stalwart joint enforcement operations of Commissioner Hilroy Brandy and his Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force (RSCNPF) along with Lieutenant Commander Anthony Commrie and his St. Kitts-Nevis Defense Force (SKNDF) in executing searches, seizing of weapons, collecting evidence and arresting of criminals. However, despite the professional execution of their duties in curbing criminal activities, we can soon realize that a peace initiative is something of community resolve, mindset and decision making, and we may have to look elsewhere for the basis of this so-called peace initiative.
Secondly, we have the St. Kitts-Nevis Youth Explorer Club whichwas launched nationwide by the RSCNPF Community Policing Team to intensely recruit children and youth into a vibrant behavior modification and leadership training movement. This initiative is a community empowerment campaign that has tremendous potential to reform the social landscape of the Federation and I am proud to have helped inspired the founders through the EDER Approach and ROOTS OF VIOLENCE Conference.
However, without seeming to devalue the efforts and future outcomes of this great movement, the currentpeace initiative we are seeing in SKN cannot be fully attributed to this fledgling initiative, and we may again have to objectively look elsewhere for more answers.
Then the third component to be considered is a robust community empowerment campaign our social empowerment “Duo Team”(my administrative assistant and I)undertook in conjunction with the Skills Training Empowerment Program (STEP),a national low-income program run under the office of the Prime Minister which employs hundreds of locals across the Federation.
This third initiative was a series of community high impact sessions which deeply addressed the roots of; conflicts(personal, family and community), anger, disrespectful confrontations, revenge and disrespect for life. Along with the disseminating of this vital information, we also equipped over five hundred homes with of our official ‘Project STOP ‘n’ THINK” Decision Making & Impulse Control Kits which are designed to reinforce the concepts in the minds of attendees, their families and communities. These sessions and material we delivered in twenty-nine communities in St. Kitts and nine in Nevis with the specific intention to address the gang divide that existed while giving the social tools to creating a more tolerant and peaceful co-existence between feuding communities.
As reflected in our final report, in addition to this community level intervention strategy that impacted thirty-eight communities, our team engaged daily crime prevention sessions in all twenty-seven primary and nine high schools across the Federation while also respondingto seventy-five homes for family intervention sessions, all simultaneously.
Before completing our work and leaving the Federation of SKN in August 2019, because of the drop in crime, I was personally stopped several times and asked if I knew or heard that the government was paying criminals not to kill each other. My answer was and still is, “I do not know if the government is paying criminals to keep the peace. However, what I do know is that our team has delivered powerful mind-altering social skill tools to help feuding individual and communities across the Federation live a more controlled, resolved andpeaceful life, and I am not surprised that they are doing so. That’s what I know”
So, as we use the algebraic method of using what we know to figure out what we don’t as it pertains to the new “Peace Initiative” in St. Kitts-Nevis, I DO KNOW that we have delivered the potent social concepts and strategies that the Federation needed for a peaceful co-existence of its people and along with all other stakeholder with similar objectives that have worked alongside us, we can celebrate together “Peace and goodwill in St. Kitts-Nevis” in 2020 and beyond.
Best wishes to government and wonderful people of St. Kitts-Nevis in 2020!!