CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (May 31, 2010) — Leader of the Opposition in the Nevis Island Assembly Hon. Vance Amory, commended Premier of Nevis and Minister responsible for Security Hon. Joseph Parry, for the collaborative new approach the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) had taken to arrest crime and violence on the island.
Mr. Amory was at the time delivering remarks at the first of a two part Symposium on Crime in which he participated recently, hosted by the Premier’s Ministry. The one day event which was held at Pinneys Beach Hotel under the theme “Reclaiming our Society” was attended by law men, civil servants, ministers of religion and private citizens.
“It is my hope that this is a new step, a new beginning in trying to eradicate unacceptable behaviour from our country and therefore to get rid of crime and violence and other forms of anti-social behaviour, so that we can have a peaceful country of which we can all be proud and in which we can feel safe in,” he said.
The Opposition Leader referred to fighting crime as an important matter for leaders in the community and cited the need to lead by example and through guidance to show that they were prepared to fight against crime.
“In this effort to rid our country of crime and violence and anti-social behaviour, it is imperative that we give unbridled and unequivocal support to the security forces and all other persons engaged in trying to ameliorate the situation in which we find ourselves. So that we can deal with the elements who have caused this scourge – the drug dealers, the enticers of our young people both male and female and the illegal importers and sellers of guns and ammunition which are used to destroy our society especially dealing with our youth,” he said.
The Opposition Leader acknowledged the negative effects of crime on the society which he indicated had become a matter of concern to all citizens of goodwill.
He said the issue of crime had become the number one priority which had to be addressed if the Nevis community and the Federation were to regain any semblance of stability and harmony, that would allow for the peaceful, economic growth and development elements that were necessary to secure the long-term survival of a once peaceful country.
Mr. Amory offered suggestions to deal with the immediate problem, among them the necessity for a high quality information gathering system, which he said would unearth and eradicate illegal operations and bring persons involved to justice.
“I believe it is important also to enlist and secure the support for all the family, church, school, business community and all members of civil society in this endeavour, as the fight against crime and the criminal elements is the responsibility of every citizen.
“Leaders in society must show by example and precept that we are prepared to deal with this matter,” he said.
Mr. Amory also expressed the view that a select and trained cadre of serious community workers was necessary. He noted that they would be assigned to work among the families and young persons to create a love of community, respect for self, family and laws of the country.
The trained community workers would guide at risk families and youths away from the tendency to fall prey and under the influence of the criminal elements and thereby avoid them gaining control over the society.
He also pointed to the importance of creating opportunities for gainful employment, since it was believed that in many cases, those who became involved in anti-social behaviour and crime was because of a quick fix and easy money.
Meantime, he pointed to the ongoing “Jamaica Dudus” experience and said that the situation held relevance to Nevis and clearly showed the danger of leaders in society who allowed themselves to be aligned with the criminal element.
“It also shows how if not checked early that anti social behaviour and crime can take hold of a society and paralyse it. The effects of that Dudus affair in Jamaica is something that we would not like to see here in our country.
“The social, economic and political fallout of such creeping influence of anti-social behaviour is to create a cancer which disrupts and destroys our country and that cancer has to be rooted out and destroyed,” he said.
Eradicating crime had to be seen as a prime objective in St. Kitts and Nevis, the Opposition Leaders stated. He said a serious move had to be made to create awareness which would take all the technical and special advice from advisors to design a strategy for action to deal with the cancer of crime which the leaders were seeking to eradicate in the society.