By Steve Thomas
Observer Nevis Editor
(Charlestown, Nevis) – In a televised address, Premier Joseph Parry told the people of Nevis he had been meeting with police to discuss a recent spike in crime – including a murder and a wave of armed robberies – and urged Nevisians “not to surrender to their fears.”
In his July 14 speech, Premier Parry said, “I come to you at this time because of the great concern that has been expressed by so many people around the island of the criminal activity that we have been experiencing for the past six weeks.
“In June, a young man was murdered on the streets of Charlestown. It created great concern among us because the people of Nevis are not accustomed to that kind of behaviour.”
The homicide occurred on June 11. Police went to Marion Street in Charlestown, Nevis, and found the body of Leon Hendrickson, 29, of St. Kitts, who resided at Stoney Grove, Nevis. He was walking home when he was shot. One resident of Ramsbury said they heard about a dozen shots fired. Police believe the murder was gang related. No one has been arrested in the case.
In late January, Leon Westerman was shot to death in downtown Charlestown. No one has been arrested in the case.
Following the murder of Mr. Hendrickson, police had increased patrols in the areas of Newcastle, Bath Village, Cotton Ground and Stoney Grove to ensure that there was no serious retaliation, Mr. Parry said.
There have recently been a number of robberies in Nevis, some of which had taken place very early in the morning. In an effort to address the concerns of residents, Mr. Parry said he had held several meetings with the police, who have registered a strong commitment and renewed vigour in quelling unlawful behaviour on the island.
“There has been a great element of fear in the country and I feel we need to give assurance at this time. The people of Nevis cannot and must not surrender to their fears,” he said.
Police in Nevis are working closely with the police on St. Kitts; and said he anticipated that over time, the police would be successful in bringing crime under control, Mr. Parry said.
The Premier made an appeal to everyone to give full support to the police by assisting wherever they could. He also urged persons to give information to the police and to stand up and give evidence whenever they were called upon to do so.
“Be vigilant; seek protection from the police whenever needed,” he said. “If you are dealing with money at night, have the police give you protection. They have told me that they are more than willing to offer the protection that our citizens crave.”
The Premier ended by assuring all that the Government was confident that this matter of crime would be controlled soon and that peace would prevail in Nevis.