Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 24, 2018 (SKNIS): Residents in St. Kitts and Nevis are encouraged to bring their concerns and suggestions on matters relating to public safety and security during a series of town hall meetings that begin on Thursday, October 25, 2018.

The first meeting will be held tomorrow, Thursday, at the Methodist School Room on Victoria Road at 7:30 pm. The public forums are organized by the National Security Strategy Formulation Committee (NSSFC), which was established in September 2018. The committee is mandated to look at the issue of crime from the perspective of policing, national security, criminal justice reform, social intervention and other related issues.

The committee meets regularly with stakeholders from the public and private sectors and civil society groups. To date meetings have been held with representatives of the police; defence force; immigration; prison; education ministry; Ross University security, and others. A meeting is planned tomorrow, Thursday with representatives of the media. Consultations with representatives from the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, and private security agencies are scheduled for next week.

Chairman of the NSSFC, Dwyer Astaphan, appealed to the general public to accept their social responsibility to participate in the town hall meetings.

“National security is a very broad-reaching thing. It’s the safety and security of everyone in the country. You would presume, logically, that everybody would understand that they have a critical interest in it and should participate in the process to make sure that our country can be safer for us, for those who visit us, and for those who will follow in generations to come,” Chairman Astaphan said.

He added that national security facilitates a platform for social, economic, and political stability and allows citizens and residents to lead a happy and productive life.

Future town hall meetings will be held on Thursday, November 01 at the Cayon Community Centre, and Thursday, November 08 at the Sandy Point Community Centre.

The NSSFC will also continue its regular engagement with stakeholder groups. Most meetings take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the morning.

“Very well, very active, very informative, very insightful,” Mr. Astaphan said, while reflecting on previous sessions. “What we ask the stakeholders to do, within 14 days of our meeting with them, is to present their perspective, the strengths, weaknesses from their institutional perspective, their recommendations as to what ought to be done, and so forth.”

The committee’s findings will be presented in a report that will be submitted to Cabinet for consideration in charting the way forward to enhance public safety. The mandate for the committee is set to conclude at the end of December 2018, but Mr. Astaphan said that a time extension may be requested given the broad scope of the committee and the important nature of the work.