By Loshaun Dixon
Basseterre, St. Kitts-Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis and Minister of National Security the Hon. Dr Timothy Harris is calling on the general public to have a bigger impact on the crime fighting efforts as the Federation continues to combat criminal activities.
Dr. Harris spoke at a Passing Out Parade for 28 new soldiers who have joined the ranks of the St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force. He gained inspiration from Canon Isaiah Phillip as he reflected on the current security environment and the need for people to become more serious about security.
He told the crowd security begins with each citizen and must not rest solely on the shoulders of the security agencies.
“I want to adopt his message because very often when we have these graduations we hear all the goodwill and nice expressions of support but at this particular juncture the country and the society requires more,” the Prime Minister declared.
In the context of St. Kitts and Nevis Dr. Harris stated that a more conscious effort is needed and the public ought to support and stand by the security agencies.
“We stand by them, giving support as they perform some of the most difficult tasks at which every day they may be called upon and to put their lives at risk to maintain public safety and security. “When they are making that great sacrifice we ask ourselves what we are doing… What information we have from our own connections that we have in the communities in which criminal behaviour is taking place that we are not sharing with the very security force who we say we salute,” he said.
He warned the people that by not reporting what they see, they are putting the lives of the security officers at greater risk than is necessary.
“It is a critical important message for people to hear, to adopt and to live,” he said. “The responsibility for the maintenance of law and order lies with each of us and being proactive about it. The life which we may save may end up being our very own.”
The National Security Minister added that the public giving information to the law enforcement officers is not a favour to the agencies but a favour to themselves.
“It’s not a favour you are doing the police not the favour you’re doing the Defence Force when you report upon crimes that are taking place. It is a favour you are doing for yourselves and for your country,” he added.
Dr Harris also had words of encouragement for the new soldiers indicating that regular citizens may not fully comprehend the will of a soldier and the ability to endure and overcome hardship.
“The calibre of persons like yourselves who are entering the Defence Force, the training you receive, the doctrine that guides you and the team spirit that binds you together that is the feeling of pride that you feel and display in belonging to the Defence Force and your sense of identification with your ideals of the St. Kitts Nevis Defence Fore become a critical aspect of your behaviour and conduct,” he said.
Dr. Harris said the role of the Defence force is not one of mounting military campaigns but one in which they must always be in a high state of readiness to be able to respond to the unexpected and to be in a position to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves.
“The criminal elements are becoming more and more bold and unpredictable in their assaults on our communities and our security forces must be able to meet such challenges an unexpected developments and each time our security forces confront the lawless elements our security forces must win,” he said.
He urged citizens to be committed to building peace stability and the security of the state and society.
‘I want to encourage all of our security officers, to strengthen their courage, their heroism and loyal to our country,” he added.