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BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis continues to work assiduously to introduce and update legislation geared at promoting citizen security, according to Attorney General, the Honourable Senator Vincent Byron.

“We have gone and passed an amendment to the Evidence Act,” the Attorney General said. “That is the Act that, when you go to the High Court and are giving evidence, you must conform to certain rules and regulations. The amendment we introduced was to make provisions for witnesses who are hostile, who do not want to cooperate, so we try to get better rules, better regulations for that.” said Byron, referring to the Evidence Amendment Act, No. 11 of 2015, which was passed on Dec. 31.

He used the occasion to speak briefly on the introduction of the amendment to the Anti-Terrorism Act, which was passed on December 31, 2015, while referencing anti-social activities in other parts of the world where persons are attacking churches and schools using firearms.

“We don’t need that in our country… we will not tolerate in this country any form of terrorism, and so, we will bring the laws to ensure that our security forces will be able to use them to cope with any such out-of-order nonsense,” Byron said.

Added to the legislations mentioned, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis passed other laws in relation to criminal justice. These include: the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, No.12 of 2015, which was passed on Dec. 31; the Firearms (Amendment) Act, No. 6 of 2017; and the Bail (Amendment) Act, No 8 of 2017, which were both passed on Aug. 3. The Bail (Amendment) Act, 2017, restricts the granting of bail for someone charged with manslaughter or murder by raising the burden of proof threshold; and the Firearms (Amendment) Act, 2017, increases the penalty for the illegal possession and use of firearms by 50 percent from 10 to 15 years.

Byron noted that they would like to increase convict’s sentences, “as too many people in St. Kitts and Nevis have access to illegal firearms.” He concluded the Government will do whatever possible to reduce the incidences of crime, because it is imperative for persons to feel safe and secure in the Federation.”