SKNIS Photo 1: Commissioner Queeley updates on security operations while PM Harris looks on.
Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 27, 2016 (SKNIS): Intensified security operations are being executed in St. Kitts and Nevis, and will continue over the coming days and weeks as law enforcement seeks to enhance public safety.
The news was announced on Wednesday (July 27) at the Prime Minister’s Monthly Press Conference held at Government Headquarters. Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, said the initiatives were outlined to several members of the Cabinet during a recent meeting with the leadership of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force (RSCNPF) and the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF).
“We had a frank discussion regarding the security situation, the details of which given their security nature I will not go into now, but we have charged the security forces to urgently ensure that a number of initiatives will be taken to bring the peace, safety and security to all in St. Kitts and Nevis,” Dr. Harris said.
Commissioner of Police, Ian Queeley, touched broadly on some of the plans and said “we are redoubling our efforts in terms of operational activities. We have increased operations particularly in the McKnight, The Village, Newtown and Shadwell areas.” A greater police presence is already visible.
Additionally, Nevis is currently staging its 42nd Culturama celebrations – which climaxes on August 01 and 02 with parades and street jams – while St. Kitts will host the finale of the Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 (CPLT20) cricket tournament slated for Warner Park on August 03 to 07. Commissioner Queeley said the current security measures will be fused with operations for these events ensuring a safe environment for locals and visitors. However, the enhanced operations may cause slight inconveniences such as longer lines to get into an event or slower moving traffic.
“I will just ask them [the public] to bear with us as we strive to ensure the safety of every person,” the police head said. “Whether it be the targeted operations or a VCP (Vehicle Checkpoint) and you are inconvenienced, we want you to understand it is for your own safety and protection.”
Also, the Commissioner also called for individuals and civic groups to be more involved in the fight against crime. He said witnesses and even some victims of crime at times do not cooperate with police investigators, which makes it hard to press charges and secure convictions in court.
Prime Minister Harris echoed the call for greater community involvement.
“We appeal to every member of the community to appreciate that the law enforcement agencies cannot do it alone,” he stated. “You know where some of the guns are hidden, in whose backyard, by whose fence, and we appeal to you to provide that information to some responsible person who will take it to the appropriate source.”
Dr. Harris added that Government will continue to support law enforcement and said initiatives to provide alternative opportunities to young people are being implemented.
“And that is why the Minister of Education [Honourable Shawn Richards] has over the last year paid specific attention to the matter of TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) and how through that we can cater to those with gifted hands, with other interests, and help them on the path to gainful, but not just gainful, responsible membership in our society.”
The Prime Minister also called on parents/guardians to stand up to their children who “they know or ought to know” are involved in antisocial activities. The police department can assist in this regard.