The St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CIC) has joined a growing list of organizations and individuals questioning the appointment of former Attorney General Dr. Dennis Merchant and former Police Commissioner Robert Jeffers as National Security consultants. The CIC recently issued a communiquÃ© expressing concern that the government has responded to escalating crime By appointing two consultants who may not be of any real assistance. “The Chamber’s Board of Directors is also concerned about government’s recent decision to retain the services of former Attorney General, Dr. Dennis Merchant and former Commissioner of Police, Robert Jeffers to assist and advise on the way forward in responding to our crime wave. Both of these gentlemen have had the opportunity to make a positive impact on reducing crime and have been proven unsuccessful during their respective tenures. As such, it begs the question, ‘What new strategies do they now bring to the table, which are yet untried but guaranteed to bring fast results?” the statement read, in part. People’s Action Movement (PAM) leader Lindsay Grant has also expressed an unfavorable opinion on the new hires, calling them, “another example of government wastage and mismanagement of already scarce financial resources”. Merchant already holds a position within the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs as General Counsel for the Federal government. In February, failed Labour candidate Dr. Norgen Wilson was appointed Special Adviser in that ministry. “It is difficult for me or any fair-minded citizen of this country to uncover the wisdom of these two appointments. Why are these two gentlemen who have essentially failed in their former roles as prominent figures in our justice system now hired and paid as consultants in the Ministry which they made no positive impact to crime while they were there,” Grant challenged. Meanwhile the Labour administration supports the Merchant and Jeffers appointments, saying in a statement: “Cabinet again endorsed the appointment of Dr. Dennis Merchant, former Attorney General and former Director of Public Prosecution, and Mr. John Jeffers, former Commissioner of Police, who have been assigned to give added support in prosecutorial and investigative matters”. Earlier this week National Security Minister Hon. Sam Condor rolled out several upcoming initiatives that he says will address the “factors of crime” in the short and medium term. He listed the establishment of a Homicide Unit within the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force, the formation of an Inter-Ministerial Committee, increased police visibility, and the systematic naming of streets to assist residents in giving directions to law enforcement officers around the community as “measures that need to be implemented as soon as possible to intercept criminal activity”. “We believe that security is not just for the Ministry of National Security,” Minister Condor said. “We believe that in addressing this matter we have to look at it in a holistic way. It is not just a matter of building police stations, and providing bullet proof vests and training for the police”. While condemning the escalation of gun-related and violent crimes and armed robberies, the CIC says it stands ready to assist the government in addressing the crime issue in a “holistic and effective manner”. “The worsening state of criminal activity in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is fast exhausting the tolerance level and the patience of the people of our Country. Moreover, as the Nation continues to witness wanton disregard for human life, the anti-social approach to resolving conflict with gun violence and homicide, and deliberate attacks on the business community, residents, local and foreign investors, the St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce is issuing a serious call to the Ministry of National Security to seek out, as a matter of urgency, new and workable approaches to nip in the bud this national emergency. “The Organization will be seeking an urgent meeting with the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Security in order to further address its growing concerns about crime. The Chamber is ready – as always – to support government and law enforcement agencies in addressing this issue in a holistic and effective manner,” the organization’s release said.
- 9 years ago
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