The Editor:

The reputation of Nevis as a “slice of paradise” has once again been tarnished by crime.

I relocated my family to Nevis almost seven years ago and started my business in the area of international corporate and trust services. My family was quick to adopt Nevis as our home and we took every opportunity to express to everyone we know and met what a wonderful place we had found to live and raise our family.

In the first couple of years acts of friendship, kindness and honesty were so common and magnanimous that expressing the virtues of this island was easy. On several occasions I was pleased to hear our guests return to our residence after a day of sight seeing and tell us how pleasant, friendly and honest the people of our new home were and how fortunate we were to live in this paradise.

Almost seven years later and I am still proud to call Nevis my home, I love this little island as much as the island on which I was born. I guess if I didn’t the changes that I am seeing would not disturb me as much. However, only those with their heads stuck in the sand would say that crime is not now a problem in Nevis. Offences against property and persons are now common. Nevis is now in a tremendous period of growth and this crime could have a very negative impact on future development.

I still take every opportunity to espouse the virtues of Nevis. Last week I had clients on island, these clients were more interested in investing locally rather than my usual work of international services. However, domestic growth can only benefit my international business so I always take the opportunity to wave the flag and convince clients that investment in Nevis is sound.

In this case one client was considering either building or purchasing a villa as his permanent home, the others were considering Nevis amongst several Caribbean islands to locate a gated condominium development. In both cases the economic spin off to Nevis is obvious for both short term regarding land sales and construction as well as long term regarding villa management, staffing, purchases made to local businesses et cetera.

On Friday evening we were wrapping a week of client entertainment and convincing our guests that Nevis was their slice of paradise. At approximately 8:30 I drove my client to his guest house and promised to pick him up the following morning for one last look around our beautiful island and his mind was all but made up as to where he would be investing.

Saturday morning I returned to pick him up and was distraught to learn that after dropping him off Friday evening he went for a stroll to pick up some basic groceries, as he was walking back to the guest house he was accosted by two young men one of whom stuck a gun in his face and was robbed of his purchases and EC$150.00. So much for a slice of paradise.

Needless to say multimillion dollars worth of investment lost over a lousy $150.00 EC. There are those who may try and justify these young men’s actions on the basis of their being disenfranchised, and no opportunities and having to feed their families, and to this I say crap.

Right now in Nevis the morning cock who woke the neighbourhood with his crows has been replaced with the sounds of cement mixers, hammering and table saws.  Few areas of the world have the amount of employment opportunity in construction that currently exist in Nevis.

In my own case, I am currently building a home and in November we were forced to lay off the workers for a week as a result of a concrete shortage, a week later we were only able to bring back one person of the original crew as all others were able to find other work in the interim, good for them. There is lots of work in Nevis, and wages paid on these sites are decent, but the key word is “work”. I dare say these wanna be gangstas have a phobia about an honest days work.

That’s the reality of the criminal element, they are lazy and selfish and really do not care about their community or their neighbours. They are also cowards and hide behind a gun. They are not real men, a real man goes to work in the morning teaches his children the respect of an honest days work, respects those around him and works towards the benefit of his family and his community not just himself.

As a community we have to start addressing this plague on our island, not just so we can protect foreign investment but so we can protect our own community. How many people can honestly say they are pleased to see buildings and land marks such as the Jewish cemetery spray painted with gang tags like LST and Bloods. Lets start standing up to these misguided individuals and tell them they are not welcome. Paint over the “tags”, let the police know who is carrying the guns, who is selling the drugs. Police are ineffective without community assistance. There are people who know who are carrying the guns, they should speak out. They may not as a result of fear however, it will be too late when maybe it is their child struck by a stray bullet. I have to believe that the honest community at large is substantially greater than the few dishonest that are tarnishing our island. It is wrong for the greater good to be terrorised by the few.

There is a saying that it only takes one bad apple to ruin the barrel, lets start weeding out the bad apples.

I respectfully ask that each person take it upon himself to address this problem and help us return to the peaceful paradise we all love.

Dan MacMullin and Family.