By Loshaun Dixon
Basseterre, St. Kitts-Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis and Minister of National Security the Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris says it is time to turn the tide on crime and return the Federation to peace in the communities.
Dr. Harris spoke at a town hall meeting hosted by the Government for Ministers to outline their accomplishments and plans moving forward. The session was held at Joshua Obadiah Primary School.
The Prime Minister urged citizens to get back to old time values that have built the Federation and led to the development of strong families.
“I am concerned because I know in some of our communities a lot more are concerned. People must be able to walk any corner of St. Kitts and Nevis any time of the day to go about their legitimate business,” he said.
Regardless of the community, Dr. Harris said he does not want guns on the street and promised to give full support and encouragement to the security forces as they do their work.
“Whenever the agents of law clash with the agents of unlawfulness and illegality, law must win. We have to wipe out lawlessness to build the kind of prosperity we as a team are committed too. I make no apologies. Because on this matter of law and order I draw a line in the sand,” he declared.
The National Security Minister warned people who get caught with guns and drugs not to call him to intervene because he firmly stands behind the security forces.
“I want to remind you do not call me to intervene. I am the Minister of National Security and I stand fully and uncompromisingly in support of the security forces and I want you to stand with me. There is only one way in which we turn the tide and we must be clear that this is no bad man country,” he said.
He said when the government changed, it ended all evilness in the Federation, referencing a quote by former Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas.
“We vote for discipline and order,” he added.
The Prime Minister looked back to when he was growing up and would go to a friend’s place to watch television. He said the only thing he feared walking on the street at night were ‘Jumbies’.
“I never had to be thinking about gunshots and I would wish for those good days to return of calm and love among people,” he stated.
He reminded those present that in order to turn the tide, the households have a large role to play.
“You have to start early when children are in primary school to give them limits and take charge because you can’t wait until they are in high school to discipline them. They are already boxing you in the house and ‘strupes’ on you and wouldn’t even tell you morning and you wouldn’t deserve it either,” he said.
He also issued a warning to heads of households to join the fight for good governance.
“Start with the young children by sending them to Sunday school. Start giving them moral fibre that lifts them up so that when faced with a decision they can say, I will do this because that is not right. It is not too late to turn back the environment of surging crime in our land and to achieve prosperity. 2017 must be the year we say no to drugs, no to crime and have peace forever in St. Kitts and Nevis,” he said.
He told the audience from the time their children stop from school, encourage them to find something to do. Laziness is not a virtue in nation building and parents and adults must never encourage it. They have to tell their children that honest work is preferred to dishonest work, he said.
Dr. Harris said he agrees with the Attorney General’s decision to have a second judge sitting in the Federation.
“I want justice to be swift for the criminals, I want justice to be swift for the scamps and this having them a long time in jail eating up the food can’t work. We have to turn the tide and take a stand,” he said.
He warned if the situation is not corrected it could lead to investors losing confidence in the Federation.
“They need to be put under heavy manners because if we don’t get it right we will destroy investor confidence in the country. They will make investors who can easily exit our country and we will not have that,” he said.
The Federation has been ravaged by crime and violence for more than a decade and saw 31 homicides last year.