Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris, in delivering his Budget Address 2020 Thursday said homicides in St. Kitts and Nevis have fallen by 48 percent amid an overall drop in crime of 27 percent.

“Mr. Speaker, this Budget continues to deliver a safer future for our people. The Statistics show that the number of homicides, particularly homicides related to gang violence, as well as other major crimes, is at the lowest for the last 14 years,” said Prime Minister Harris, while highlighting that “this historic success vindicates the significant and targeted increases in budgetary allocation to National Security in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and the increase that would be proposed for the 2020 Budget.”

The amount allocated for National Security for 2020 is $99.2 million — 63.5 million for recurrent expenditure and 35.7 million for capital expenditure — a 5 percent increase over 2019.

Prime Minister Harris noted monies allocated to National Security have been used on prioritized training, forensics, CCTV Programmes, improvement in the physical environment for the Security Forces, psychological support and “security gadgets.”

The Minister of National Security also said the Alternative Lifestyle Pathway Project, funded by the government through the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis, is reaping benefits by providing support to troubled youths who took the first step seeking help to escape a life of crime.

“It enables individuals to receive financing and technical support for the establishment of entrepreneurial projects, or for their involvement in community development initiatives,” he said.

Prime Minister Harris outlined a new programme to be spearheaded by the Ministry of National Security to support existing and future social interventions in the medium to long term and lock in “the gains we have achieved.”