LEADERS OF MEMBER STATES REJECT LEADER OF OPPOSITION’S CALL FOR DENYING SUPPORT OF RSS TO SECURITY FORCES IN ST. KITTS AND NEVIS

Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 21, 2016 (SKNIS)—Prime Minister of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, has said that Heads of Government from Member States of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and Barbados have condemned St. Kitts and Nevis’ Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Denzil Douglas, for writing to them and calling them to request that they refuse to support the Government’s call for assistance of the Regional Security System (RSS) to assist the Security Forces with safety and security in the Federation.

In an exclusive interview with ZIZ’s Jason Davis on September 20, Prime Minister Harris said that while “Heads of Government from Member States of the OECS and Barbados are prepared to put their citizens in service to maintain peace and tranquility of St. Kitts and Nevis, a former prime minister was reckless enough to attempt to discourage his former colleagues from sending this assistance to St. Kitts and Nevis.”

“I mean by any stretch of the imagination, he has been disloyal to this country and he has shown in my view a reckless behaviour that his former colleagues condemned,” said Prime Minister Harris, who outlined that while in Margarita, Venezuela, for the recent 17th Summit of the Non-aligned Movement (NAM) on September 17, 2016, the leaders couldn’t understand how any leader in the context of 23 homicides in a small country like St. Kitts and Nevis could be calling them and writing to them to ask them not to render support.

Prime Minister Harris said that his Government takes its responsibility of security of the citizens and residents of the country seriously.

“For too long, there has been an uneasiness in the country regarding what appears to be the ease with which criminals were parading their criminal acts in the country,” he said. “We have had instances of their daring and it indicated clearly that those who are on the side of law had had to make a determined effort to root out criminality in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, to restore the country again to one of peace, one of respect for law and one in which law and order will always prevail.”

The prime minister added: “We go back to 2011, the year in which we had the most outrageous—well it was an abomination in terms of a small country—having 35 homicides and we look then at the response of the Government of the day when the NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) community and in particular, the Chamber (of Industry and Commerce) said enough was enough and that we needed to get additional support.”

“We came to this area of law and order with a perspective that the Government must do all in its power, leave no stone unturned in order to restore the peace and safety of our citizens by calling upon the RSS after consultation with the High Command of the Police and the Defence Force—it was an indication that we were going to be faithful to the pledge that security was paramount and that in our own view and in the view of every law-abiding citizen and resident 23 homicides are enough; in fact, it is far too many and we therefore have to as it were ensure that the forces of law and order, that they consolidate, that they strengthen, that they complement each other where necessary and supplement the response to ensure that the criminals would understand that there will be no hiding place, that the Government and people will not retreat, that we intend on every occasion where the forces of law confront the forces of lawlessness, that the forces of law and order will prevail, and this Government is determined to call upon the international community to provide it with all the resources that could be mustered and could be buttressed in order to make St. Kitts and Nevis the safest country in the world,” Prime Minister Harris said.

Prime Minister Harris said that his Government, just under two years, has “done all that we reasonably could in a short space of 18 months to enhance the resources with the Police, gave them the largest Budget; we enhanced their forensic capability; we brought in the Bramshill Police as advisors to set up structures and mechanisms to mentor and to guide those who have been elevated to senior leadership; we invested in every area that one possibly could and of course we have a six point plan and strategic plan which are working but we felt at this particular point and the Police felt also that they needed the additional resources and so we followed through with that.”

Prime Minister Harris said that he commends and supports the RSS for coming to assist with safety and security. He also said that he makes “a special appeal” to every citizen and resident to play a role in eradicating crime by speaking to the authorities about what they know.

Dr. Harris said that the people at the appropriate time will see the hypocrisy of the Leader of the Opposition.

“The public at the appropriate time will deal with this in my view—the misconduct, betrayal of trust by the Leader of the Opposition. The fact though is that the RSS has come is an indication that his appeal to them was rejected by those who know better,” he said.

“I wish those who have come to serve us all the very best and they must know that they have the fullest support of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and every law-abiding citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis,” the prime minister added.

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