BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, September 18, 2019 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The historic turnaround in the crime situation in St. Kitts and Nevis over the last several months continues to reverberate and receive commendation across the region.
Recently appointed Resident Representative for the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP), Multi-country Office for Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), with full responsibilities for St. Kitts and Nevis, Mr. Magdy Martinez-Soliman, added his own words of commendation for the positive outcomes of the law enforcement initiatives in the twin island Federation.
In a sit-down interview with the St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service, Mr. Martinez-Soliman, stated that, “Something good is happening. Somebody is doing things ok. Somebody is getting the policy right and somebody in the police [force] is doing their job right as well.”
Mr. Martinez-Soliman said that the office of the UNDP had prior concerns regarding crime in St. Kitts and Nevis but noted that, “Last year the trend had started to improve, and over the past nine months we have had clear reduction in serious crime, murders in particular, and therefore a clear reduction of the trend of increase of the carceral population.”
Since February of this year, the Ministry of National Security and an Engagement Team of patriotic citizens have been working closely with gang members who had indicated to the police that they wanted to put an end to the violence.
This gave birth to what is now called the Peace Initiative which was introduced in March 2019 to help gang members transition from lives of crime to productive lifestyles through alternative ventures such as agricultural production, construction, entrepreneurship, and other activities.
The initiative resulted in a marked decline in the number of homicides and non-fatal shootings committed in the Federation for the period March 01 to August 26. The most notable success of this initiative to date was recorded when gang members voluntarily surrendered 30 illegal firearms and more than 70 rounds of ammunition to the police.
Moreover, a team of representatives from the offices of the United States Embassy and the British National Crime Agency (NCA) – which are responsible for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean – and the Royal Barbados Police Force visited the Federation in August, 2019 to examine the success of the current police initiative to curb gang violence.