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The Fierce Urgency Of Now

“We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke those words in 1967 in a speech calling for immediate steps to be taken to terminate the Vietnam War and a spiritual revolution. Today, Sen. Barack Obama often mentions “the fierce urgency of now” when he calls for changes that are needed in the United States.

Today, in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, the issue is crime and we are faced with “the fierce urgency of now.”


“In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time.”

A report has been released by the Nevis Citizens Crime Initiative. The genesis of the report was a symposium held a year ago (Urgency?) to discuss the issue of crime on Nevis. The public was told the report was nearing completion in January, although no date for its release was set. The NCCI report has been released and its contents are straightforward and worth heeding. (Now.)

The NCCI report states clearly that there have been failures in government, law enforcement, education, the judiciary and the community at large that have contributed to the growing problem of crime on Nevis. The report also states that unless there are steps taken to curb violent crime, the tourism sector – Nevis’s biggest employer – will be hurt.

It is not about blame, though. The report lays out plans to meet the problems that contribute to crime, plans that would change how things work today in order to start bringing crime under control – now.

As the report states: “Based on the assumption that there is a direct link between tourism and crime, which makes the situation of security on Nevis an urgent and top priority concern both for the Government and all of its citizens, this report attempts to express that sense of immediacy in its thrust and to underscore the fact that we must act NOW.  There is little doubt that Nevis has a crime problem! É The Report concludes that although crime on Nevis has caused great alarm throughout the island it is still within manageable proportions and recommends that certain broad-based initiatives are implemented as a matter of urgency.”

The report, at least, embraces the fierce urgency of now.

The question is: What will Nevisian leaders do? Will leaders in politics, law enforcement, education, religion and the communities take steps now to bring crime under control or will they be content to passively watch and hope that things will get better by themselves while more property is stolen, more victims are treated at the hospital and more bodies are buried?

As Dr. King said in that same speech: “Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, ‘Too late.’ There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. Omar Khayyam is right: ‘The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on.'”

It is time for the leaders of Nevis to issue a clarion call in the fight against crime and embrace the fierce urgency of now.

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