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Chamber on Crime

 

STATEMENT BY CHAMBER ON CRIME

For over a decade violent crime has been a major threat to the peace, stability and security of our country and to the economy. The gun and gang culture has grown alarmingly. The murder rate has been consistently high and the number and daring manner of robberies of businesses is growing. The problem has reached a new and dangerous level with the murder of two police officers which has elevated it to a direct attack on the law and on society by misguided young people with guns.

Society through the security forces must in the immediate term aggressively and powerfully repel this attack and root out its perpetrators with all the lawful force required. However law enforcement alone will not eradicate the problem in the long term. Strong action involving the entire society is badly needed to address the deep rooted causes. Among the major causes are negative attitudes and anti social behaviors resulting in a culture which has failed our young people, disconnected them from society and fueled the rise of the gang culture. These attitudes and behaviors include poor parenting and a lack of trust in law enforcement. The political tribalism which has pervaded our country for over 50 years without relief has also contributed to the problem. Crime has become another source of the blame game between politicians.

If this culture persists the problem will not be solved by more spending on law enforcement. Law enforcement must play its critical role to repel the attack on society with all necessary force but the society must at the same time pursue the long term solutions and persuade our people that our society can be much better than it currently is. To this end the Chamber of Industry and Commerce proposes the establishment of a small but high-powered committee involving nominees of the political parties, civil society and our youth to recommend as a matter of urgency a programme of solutions and action. The Chamber is convening a meeting of over 40 key organizations in the community to nominate the civil society representatives to serve on the committee and to agree the framework of the committee.

Crime Is Personal in small islands

When business owners of small, medium or large enterprises on small islands are attacked, the crime is personal!  Everyone knows either the perpetrators or the victims!  This knowledge is actually a problem in more ways than one.  It unfortunately means that the law enforcement agents also know and are known by the criminals, making everyone more vulnerable in the prosecutorial cycle.

It is difficult in a close knit society to arrest one’s 2nd cousin, (or even neighbour), whose 34 year old mother, enjoys the proceeds of criminal activity provided by a child that is polite and attentive and where the ill-gotten gains appear to be of benefit to younger siblings. The right to provide for and protect one’s family confronts the nation with fire power that outguns local law enforcement and seeks retribution wherever it can be found to exact pain and retain control.

Where we got off the track as a society has become the subject of much debate, concluding that intervention at the community level is the solution to this problem of epic proportions. Whatever the solution, one things is clear – it requires effort from all of us.  The private sector needs sustainable development, providing meaningful job opportunities; the church needs to preach its message of hope that results in improved lifestyles and an enactment of loving one’s neighbour as one’s self; the government needs to rise to a level of good governance that is demonstrated through principled public behaviour and service organizations need to create and fully engage in programs that build societies and create positive role models.

These are the entities we seek to bring together to discuss joint action on crime. Together we can make the difference that individually we would struggle to achieve.  Crime is a societal issue affecting us all!

Join us for the discussion.

 

St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber partners with Min of Nat’l Security in fight against crime

Members of the St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry & Commerce partner with the Ministry of National Security in the fight against crime.

The official handing over of t-shirts that will spread the message of Project Stop n Think (PSAT) across the Federation took place at the CIC Conference Room on April 3rd, 2017, thanks to the 13 sponsoring members of the SKNCIC.  Read more