Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 13, 2017 (SKNIS): Minister of State, Honourable Wendy Phipps has stated, during a sitting of parliament, on June 13, that the Social Services Departments in both St. Kitts and Nevis have stepped up to their efforts in the fight against crime.
“We are well aware that crime of any kind results in no winners,” she said. “Neither the victims nor perpetrators benefit in the long run. The families of perpetrators of gun violence are often as equally vulnerable as the victims and their families. In both cases, intervention is required.”
Minister Phipps said that such intervention includes counselling services, mentorship for young family members, diversion programmes to prevent entry into a life of crime, public assistance to meet everyday cost of living, and also life skills training to assist individuals with coping with everyday challenges instead of resorting to antisocial and criminal behaviour.
“It is out of this desire to prevent crime and violence, including gun related offenses, that our Social Services Departments on both St. Kitts and Nevis would have developed programming such as the Boys Mentorship Programme for at risk youth in target communities in St. Kitts and later to be expanded in Nevis,” she said.
Also in existence are programmes such as M.E.N.D (Mold, Empower, Nature and Direct) and R.I.S.E (Restore, Inspire, Secure, and Empower), which are intended to help families in crises live better, more adjusted lives, offering them training in parenting, budgeting, home management and career planning, explained Minister Phipps. Similarly, assisting in this regard are the services of the New Horizons Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre.
Minister Phipps stated that the Departments of Social Services on both islands have already begun the development of a programme for prisoners. The programme seeks to conduct qualification training for inmates to secure better livelihoods after their incarceration.
“All of these programmes, Mr. Speaker, cost money, but they are necessary because our people are worth it yet they are viewed by the government as worthwhile investments in terms of reversing our crimes statistics and also to prevent future violence,” she said.
The senator said that it is evident that the government is doing everything possible to prevent crime and violence in the federation, including but not limited to, the strategies that are meant to mitigate those risk factors.