BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, August 31, 2018 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris stated clearly on Thursday (August 30) that he is open to having productive dialogue with members of the Opposition on the issue of addressing crime and violence in the country, as long as those calls for discussions are genuine.

“We would really want him [Dr. Denzil Douglas], as we would want all entities, every individual to be committed honestly to help get the country on track on the matter of law and order,” Prime Minister Harris said, while addressing a question posed at his press conference.

However, recent actions by the members of the Opposition leave the prime minister to believe that the Leader of the Opposition is not sincere in his calls to work with the Government to help tackle the country’s crime situation.

“My doubts with respect to his sincerity stem from a number of events which the country is well aware of, and in the end what matters more is if the people of St. Kitts and Nevis trust Dr. Denzil Douglas,” Dr. Harris said.

Prime Minister Harris spoke of the reprehensible actions by Opposition members who sought to use the National Crime Reduction Symposium, held in February of 2017, as a platform to promote their political agenda.

“We, for the first time organized a national forum at the Marriott…at which all stakeholder groups were invited; everyone who had said anything about crime at any period in time was invited to be a part, so the Opposition of course being a legitimate entity in the country was invited. What did the Opposition use that national forum to do, to engage in petty politics,” Dr. Harris recalled.

The prime minister continued, “It was really insulting to the intelligence of the people and disrespectful of the gathering that the members of the opposition Labour party could not rise beyond tribal politics. We must be able to expect more from a serious Opposition, particularly one that had been in government for 20 consecutive years, and had they managed the resources of the country well, had they attended faithfully to law enforcement in the country we would not have been where we are now.”

Prime Minister Harris, who is the Minister of National Security, is also bewildered by the Opposition’s new cause for concern with crime, pointing out that it is the Opposition, during its time in office, who allowed the law enforcement infrastructure around the country to reach a state of disrepair, including the St. Paul’s Police Station, that is now closed.

“He allowed the police station to go to the dogs. The situation got so bad that the Commissioner of Police, like those before him, wrote to the ministry and said this police station has to be closed because it has become a health hazard for our officers there. We went there and saw for ourselves the mess in which the St. Paul’s Police Station was in—just a stone throw away from the residence of the Leader of the Opposition, and he did nothing,” Prime Minister Harris said.