Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 7, 2018 – Nearly four years after telling the nation that ‘crime was trending down,’ Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris has finally admitted it’s on the increase.
“Last week, however, he told the truth for the very first time that crime was in fact out of control and getting worse under his Team Unity. He was caught off-guard at an OECS press conference where he was asked why the RSS was in St. Kitts and Nevis,” Leader of the Opposition, Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas said Tuesday night.
Dr. Douglas during his weekly programme “Ask the Leader,” said that without a comprehensive and holistic strategy being in place, St. Kitts and Nevis will not achieve lasting results in reducing crime.
“It is clear that the government’s strategy on fighting crime is a one-point plan, which is: Bring in the RSS,” said Dr. Douglas.
Dr. Douglas complimented former Commissioner of Police, Dr. C G Walwyn who spoke of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) many policy interventions in crime fighting.
“Our Crime Strategy was very effective and it led to a 30% reduction in homicides and overall crime,” said Dr. Douglas.
He said the establishment of several initiatives including the New Automated Fingerprint Identification System or AFIS machine that helped to capture fingerprints and build a database; the establishment of the Special Victims Unit that prioritized domestic violence and child abuse as part of the national crime fighting strategy, the implementation of the M.A.G.I.C. programme (Mentoring, Assisting, Guiding and Instructing Children) which was aimed at curbing juvenile delinquency, gang activity and violence in schools and establishment of the Violent Crime Unit which was created to investigate gun-related homicides and injuries were some of the best practices employed.
Dr. Douglas also alluded to the establishment of the Delta Squad which was created as a hybrid unit between the Defense Force and the police force that was highly trained in special patrol tactics in order to effectively patrol the high crime hotspots from 3pm to 6 am, seven days a week and the establishment of the Anti-robbery Team or A.R.T which was created to reduce robberies across the Federation which achieved results under the Labour administration.
“The sad fact of the matter is that several of these programmes have been discontinued by Timothy Harris. The Delta Squad, the Anti-robbery Team and the MAGIC programme have been abandoned,” said the former prime minister who added that long-lasting solutions to crime require a homemade strategy.
“Bringing in the RSS is not a strategy; it is only a response mechanism intended to have a temporary effect. This is the key factor that the Prime Minister and Minister for National Security must understand. When the RSS leaves, we are back to square one – dealing with our own high crime situation. So simply bringing in the RSS is just putting a band-aid on the problem,” Dr. Douglas said.
He is further of the view that Dr. Harris is mostly concerned about the optics. “So, he may even keep the RSS here up until the next election. He doesn’t care about the people; he only cares about himself and his prospects for winning an election.”
“Excluding the opposition from consultations on crime means more to Harris than seeking genuine solutions to this major problem that the country has,” Dr. Douglas said.