Declaration Release Re: Crime & Violence

The St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce on Wednesday affirmed that the Organisation continues steadily with its strategy to address crime and violence in the Federation. The Chamber has submitted a paper with 40 recommendations to the Government, is a member of the National Crime Task Force and has met twice with the consultant to the Ministry of National Security, Mr Mark Mershon. The Chamber spokesperson, Executive Director Ms Wendy Phipps, also cited ongoing work with its tripartite non-governmental organisation (NGO) partners, namely St. Kitts Christian Council and St. Kitts Evangelical Association – even in the face of what is regrettably now the recording of our Country’s twelfth murder for the year 2009.

Together with the Christian Council and Evangelical Association, the Chamber is also currently engaged in revisiting an ongoing project of setting ethical guidelines for the political process as our Federation approaches the next General Election. This initiative, whose genesis was in 1993, was bolstered and re-defined in June 1995 when the religious organisations on both islands, along with the Nation’s four major political parties jointly signed a Code of Conduct for the Political Process. This document set out the preferred behaviour and practices of (a) the Electoral Commission; (b) the Political Candidates, their Associates & Supporters; (c) the Voters; and (d) the Media.

 

Meanwhile, the Chamber calls for all of our leaders – be they civic, religious, political or Governmental – to conduct themselves with respect for self and others, to be responsible for their articulations on and off the platforms, airwaves, print and electronic media, and to avoid immature, irresponsible and inflammatory comments that will be destructive to others while inciting our criminal element into further anti-social behaviour. The Chamber feels strongly that any rhetoric of politicians of any party which has connotations of or suggest violence or disorder as a way of resolving political disputes is unacceptable and must be avoided. To do otherwise would be to send a wrong message and set a bad example to impressionable young people whom parents/guardians, educators and civic leaders are trying to mould into productive, law-abiding and respectful citizens.

 

The Chamber also admonishes the public to (a) continue being vigilant and intolerant of criminal activity and violence in the Federation and (b) give their full support to the Police in addressing crime. Ms Phipps also took the opportunity, once more, to express the Chamber’s gratitude to the general public for its overwhelming support of the April 2, 2009 March & Rally Against Crime that was organized in conjunction with the Christian Council and Evangelical Association. She also cited The Declaration on the Way Forward to Address Crime and Violence in the Federation which was signed at the April 2, 2009 Rally in Warner Park. It was noted that this document is available for public dissemination, discussion and implementation, and can be found on the Chamber’s website www.stkittsnevischamber.org .