Statement by the Honourable Vance Amory,
Leader of CCM – May 30, 2007
on the shooting of Mr. Edric Stanley.
My fellow Citizens, Nevisians,
I crave your indulgence to express my deep concern and sincere regrets to the family of Mr Edric Stanley – his wife Shirlene and their two sons – over the unfortunate shooting of Mr Stanley, a husband and a father.
All of us would be aware that Mr Edric Stanley was most viciously and senselessly attacked and shot at his business place about 1:00 a.m. on May 30, 2007. Everyone knows that Mr. Stanley is a committed Nevisian and citizen of this country, hardworking, industrious and enterprising. This vicious criminal attack on Mr Stanley calls for all of us in this country to be vigilant and speak out against crime of any sort in our country.
Mr Stanley’s case is not the only one which has to be focused upon. There have been too many violent crimes – especially gun crimes – in our country in recent times and we must band ourselves together to combat and eradicate crime from our island home.
I am calling on parents and guardians to instill in their children a sense of respect for self and for other persons in this community. Instill discipline in them even if it means using strong measures to deter our young people from a life of delinquency and crime.
I call upon the church to rediscover its mission to seek new ways to instill spiritual and Christian values in our people, to guide them away from anti-social behaviour and crime. I call upon the leaders in our community to set good examples and refrain from talking hatred, divisiveness and partisanship, and to denounce criminal activity and criminals in whatever form. And whatever possible shun any relations whatsoever with anyone known to be involved in criminal activity.
Those who have sworn to uphold the law of this country must not seek to abrogate the punishment of crime by seeking leniency for persons involved in criminal activity. I call on anyone who has done this in the past and may be even doing this now to stop it!!
The laws of this country have been put in place to provide an enviroment of stability and peace. The laws prescribe certain punishment for crime and as long as the laws exist, the course of law – prosecution, conviction and punishment – must be allowed to run its due process.
Anyone who interferes with this process must be exposed and denounced because by seeking to interfere in and disrupt the due process of prosecution for criminal offence, only serves to destroy the fabric of our society and condone criminal behaviour, and perpetuate petty crimes and violent crimes such as we are lamenting here today.
The senseless shooting of Edric Stanley and the senseless shooting of the young man in Newcastle, the death of Cecil “Puss” Byron, the shooting of Jamarlie Arthurton, the vicious slaying of Shermel Phillip, must galvanized us to be vigilant against crime and criminal behaviour generally if we are to preserve the peace and stability of our country.
As leaders in our country, we must be seen and known to denounce crime and not just talk about it.
Last year on the 1st June, at the Annual Day of Prayer for protection for our country I warned that we must be more concerned about the devastation caused by human beings, especially through violent crimes, drug trafficking and other social behaviour, more than any natural disaster.
My statement and serious warning was subject to political spin and ridicule but it is sad that we are today recognizing the devastation and disruption human criminal activity has caused to Nevis community.
The Edric Stanley family is in distress; Edric Stanley suffered multiple gunshot wounds, his wife will need to have leave from work, the two sons, the older of whom almost walked in on the crime scene, will have to grapple with the trauma for a long time.
The families of the other victims of violent crime will have to cope with their own tragedy in one way or another. This is serious for a small country to deal with and we must find strategies to minimize and eradicate crime of all forms from our communities.
I use this medium to call all men and women and children good will in Nevis to take positive action against criminals in our country.
We must stop accepting gifts from persons known to be involved in crime. We must publicly be seen to denounce crime and criminals and if anyone in leadership has a friendship involved in crime, drug trafficking or any other crime even if it is a white collar crime, we must distance ourselves from such persons.
I also call upon the police to redouble their efforts to:
(1) Intensify community policing strategies to enlist the support of the civil
society in the fight against crime.
(2) Deal with crime detection and prosecution professionally, relentlessly and using the extent of the law to root out criminal behaviour.
I call upon the Minister of National Security to recognize that St.Kitts and Nevis need help to fight against the level of serious crimes which we are now experiencing in our country.
I call upon entreat the Minister of the Federal Government through the Prime Minister, to solicit expert help from Scotland Yard, the FBI and any other regional and non- regional agent to provide crime fighting support for us- just as they did for the ICC Cricket World Cup.
We must recognize that the criminals of today are in some ways way ahead of the local police, and whatever technical and human resource which could be mobilized to fight crime must be solicited as part of the international and regional fight against crime
My fellow Nevisians, this recent attack on Edric Stanley and those in the not so distant past, cast a heaviness on our country. It is not enough to have candle light vigils and marches; it is not enough to talk about crime, there must be definitive action along the lines I have suggested if we are to win the fight against crime.
As a result of this dastardly action, Edric Stanley is hospitalized for how long I don’t kncow; his business place will be closed and there will be other social and human trauma as well.
The time to take a stand is now!! I want to entreat all of us parents, teachers, church leaders, leaders in community and government, to stand up against crime.
Let us begin by conducting ourselves responsibly with accountability and with respect for all persons to reconstruct the social peace and stability of our country. We must desist from misleading and divisive rhetoric in the press and on the radio.
Even as we decry and regret and express our dissatisfaction, our hurt and anger at the spate of crime. I leave us with a simple message:
“When we teach a people to do the wrong, they do not unlearn nor forget it easily”
Let me again extend my deep regret and concern to the family of Edric Stanley in this time of distress. And let me further warn that the easiest way of evil to overcome good, is for good people to remain silent and do nothing. Let us resolve to do right and keep in the fight against crime. We owe it to our country to call wrong- wrong and right – right. It is the only way that we can preserve our country and pass it on to posterity, stable, prosperous and a paradise for all to enjoy!
May God gave us wisdom and courage to do right.