A reduction in violent crime has been cited by Prime Minister Dr. Timlothy Harris as a major goal of his government for 2018.
The Federation recorded 23 homicides in 2017 which was down from the 31 in 2016 but PM Harris is aiming for better in 2018 as highlighted in his new years address.
“In 2018, we will invest a record $75 million, the highest budgetary allocation to national safety and security. We expect that we will achieve a greater peace dividend. I commend the security services for their successes in 2017, to with a significant reduction in homicides and several other major crimes, said PM Harris who is also Minister of National Security.
He further challenged the High Command of the Police to ensure that the violent crimes trend downwards in 2018. “My advice to the High Command is that 2018 must witness a further significant reduction in violent crimes and in all crimes in St. Kitts and Nevis.”
The Prime Minister, however, indicated that the security forces will receive the backing of a forensics lab and other infrastructure improvements. “In 2018, we will deliver a state-of-the-art forensics lab, new coastguard facilities, and upgraded facilities for our police and fire officers, phase 2 of the CCTV programme and enhanced social interventions.”
He also noted that in 2017 they inaugurated two Police Youth Clubs – MOLPHIL and Shadwell Explorers and is looking at expanding with similar groups in St. Pauls, Cayon, Sandy Point and in Cotton Ground in 2018.
“We will protect our children, our future, from the scourge of violent crimes in particular. We are nurturing a better relationship with our Police and the Communities. Our people yearned for pervasive peace. We are consecrating our Country’s future.”
Dr. Harris also spoke to other targets that they are aiming to achieve in 2018 with Integrity in Public Life legislation on the agenda.
“In 2018, we will deliver on our good governance agenda – Integrity in Public Life will be buttressed with Freedom of Information and Data Protection Legislation along with constitutional amendments for the restriction on the tenure of Prime Ministers,” he said.
Dr. Harris announced his administration is also targeting to make St. Kitts and Nevis the lowest tax jurisdiction in the world, allowing citizens and residents as consumers and producers greater choices and control over their incomes.
“We trust the wisdom of the economic actors and we believe in giving our people full control over their future and destiny.”
The Prime Minister said for 2018, they are projecting a positive 3.5 percent economic growth rate with the largest public sector capital projects will be implemented in 2018.
“This includes a major island main road resurfacing programme geared at providing the best possible road network in the region. The roads in some areas will be made wider and more user-friendly. We intend to offer a better tomorrow to road commuters and users. We put the interest of our people first.”
He also promised that Old Road Bay will be addressed this year. “The perennial challenge of the disruption of our public road in the western side of the island and Old Road in particular will be addressed by the second quarter of 2018. The inconvenience and loss to our economy in production and productivity cannot be tolerated. My Government will begin the implementation of a better and resilient solution to the problem at Old Road Bay,” PM Harris said.
The Prime Minister indicated that the building of a modern East Bus Terminal restoration of the Fisheries Complex at Old Road and the Fisherman’s Cooperative Building in Dieppe Bay and the starting of construction of a new Basseterre High School are among some of the goals for 2018.
“This is genuine progress, which we are delivering to our people and the electorate who wisely voted for Team Unity.”