by Dan Ehrlich
Nevis Premier Mark Brantley cites the prospect of civil breakdown and gang violence as major challenges to be tackled by his government. The Concerned Citizens Movement leader spoke of these issues during his maiden budget address to the Nevis Assembly February 12.
The matter of crime continues to be a troubling issue about which my Administration is deeply concerned. Safety and security must be the paramount duty of any government and my government intends to continue to take this duty very seriously.
We have outlined our expectations to police officials and will continue to inquire of their plans as they are the ones charged with finding ways and means to curb crime and keep the people of Nevis safe. I wish to assure them that they have our fullest support. However, I implore them to demonstrate the required effort so that our people can have the necessary confidence that they are safe in their communities and in their homes.
My government is also very concerned over the apparent level of anger among our people. This is already manifesting itself in various forms of hate crimes and physical abuse among our people, especially our women. We are sadly developing a culture of persons willing to take matters into their own hands and settle disputes through violent methods. The issue of gang violence is still prevalent within our various communities and is one of the challenges that my government will have to confront.
My government will continue to commit the necessary resources in our fight to rid communities of criminal activities.
To support the work of the security services, we will continue the ongoing works to expand the CCTV program beyond the environs of Charlestown to ensure island wide coverage. We shall also shortly construct a modern command and control centre for the island wide CCTV program.
Additionally, it is matter of deep concern that many of the perpetrators of crimes are able to escape conviction. It is the view of many that the underlying reason is that these crimes are not prosecuted by officials with the correct mix of legal and technical skills. Against this backdrop, my government shall seek to allocate more technical resources to our prosecution system. We will appoint a lawyer to work specifically with the Police Force in Nevis and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions who will deal specifically with the prosecution of criminal matters.
We must take a firm stance as we seek to grapple with this issue of crime which if not brought under control will negatively impact our economic growth and development. We cannot effectively develop as a country unless we can maintain peace and stability and reduce criminal activity in our communities.
Criminal activities left unchecked will only serve to erode all the gains we would have made as a people and as a country over the years.