St. Kitts and Nevis record significant reduction in homicidal deaths
From the press unit in the Office of the Prime Minister
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – The men and women of various law enforcement agencies in St. Kitts and Nevis came in for high praise Oct. 3 by Prime Minister the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris for their unrelenting fight against crime and violence, which has led to an overall reduction in homicides during the first nine months of the year.
Prime Minister Harris, while addressing the nation during his press conference, commended the security agencies “for the period of calm in our country,” particularly as no homicides have been committed in the federation since July.
“Our country deserves this reprieve from homicides, in my view, all year long – not sometimes but all of the times,” he said. “I therefore want to urge our law enforcement officers to press on and continue doing good on behalf our people and our nation.”
Harris, who also serves as minister of national security, noted that for the period of January to September 2017, a total of 18 homicides were committed in St. Kitts and Nevis, compared to 24 homicides committed during the same period in 2016. This represents a 25 percent reduction in homicides.
Harris said while this is significant, “we’re still not where we would like to be but we are trending in the right direction and for that we are thankful.”
In relation to illegal firearms, the national security minister stated that “our security officers continue to make our streets and society safer by an aggressive outreach to take illegal weapons off the streets. Last night, I am advised, intelligence driven policing led to the recovery of another firearm, bringing to 40 the number that they have taken off the streets to date. This already exceeds the number that they had recovered for all of 2016. The important point behind this is that every firearm recovered is one less available to do harm, to maim, to injure or to kill our citizens and residents.”
The head of the Crime Directorate within the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force, Assistant Commissioner of Police Andre Mitchell, noted that through the use of the Olympus SZX16 Comparison Microscope, several of the firearms recovered have since been linked to homicides.
“We have been testing all firearms recovered to see if they are linked to other [crime] scenes; what I can say to you is that seven of these firearms have been linked to homicides where [people] have been arrested,” ACP Mitchell said, adding that the recovery of these firearms and the subsequent ballistic tests have led to 12 other arrests being made in nonfatal shooting incidents.
Prime Minister Harris also revealed during Tuesday’s press conference that his government has committed to outfitting the Forensic Services Unit with additional state-of-the-art technologies to further enhance the police force’s crime fighting efforts.