BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, January 16, 2020 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, has strongly defended the successful Peace Initiative employed locally, that has resulted in a drastic reduction in major crimes in St. Kitts and Nevis since March 2019.
In February of last year, police engaged gang members during their operations, at which point some of these individuals indicated their desire to put an end to the violence that was taking place among them. The Police then sought the assistance of the Ministry of National Security, and an Interim Engagement Team comprising members of different sectors of society was put in place to work with the members to provide various levels of support to help them get involved in alternative lifestyles.
Respondingto a question posed during his press conference on Wednesday, January 15, Prime Minister Harris spoke to the timeliness of this intervention, as the crime situation had begun to adversely affect the business community in the country.
“The [Frigate Bay] Strip…was being closed down, too much violence there. Businesses were losing customers, too much violence in the streets. Even going to church had become hazardous for when the gunmen were in the streets, whether in Nevis or St. Kitts, they didn’t care,” said Prime Minister Harris.
Today, that situation has been reversed as there have been no gang related homicides in the country since March 2019.
PrimeMinister Harris said if one wants further evidence of the effectiveness of the Peace Initiative, one only has to look at the success of the recently concluded National Carnival season.
“The proof that it is at work is the fact that we had the best and safest carnival; the proof of it at work was that there were no major incidents; the proof that it is working is that everyone with whom you interacted with was able to feel and experience the difference and the merriment that we had in December and which we should have everyday…so we know that it is working and we want it to work,” Prime Minister Harris observed.
Dr. Harris said it is the belief of his Team Unity-led administration that this approach to peace and security is in fact sustainable, and that it must be continued.
“We will continue to work with those persons who are vulnerable. They wanted the change, they are in support of it [and] we provided the necessary instruments that would assist that.”