BASSATERRE, St. Kitts –- Alarm over growth in the increasing level of crime in the Federation has motivated the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CIC) to propose the establishment of a small, but high-powered committee to recommend an urgent programme of solutions and actions. The committee would be made up of nominees of the political parties, civil society and youth.

The CIC is convening a meeting of more than 40 key organizations in the community to nominate civil society representatives to serve on a crime-prevention committee and decide its framework. The meeting titled, “Chamber on Crime – More than Talk,” will be held Sept. 24 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“For over a decade violent crime has been a major threat to the peace, stability and security of our country and to the economy,” the statement said. “The gun and gang culture has grown alarmingly. The murder rate has been consistently high and the number and daring manner of robberies of businesses is growing.

The CIC statement said, “The problem has reached a new and dangerous level with the murder of two police officers, which has elevated it to a direct attack on the law and on society by misguided young people with guns.

“Society through the security forces must in the immediate term aggressively and powerfully repel this attack and root out its perpetrators with all the lawful force required.

“However law enforcement alone will not eradicate the problem in the long term. Strong action involving the entire society is badly needed to address the deep rooted causes. Among the major causes are negative attitudes and anti-social behaviors resulting in a culture which has failed our young people, disconnected them from society and fueled the rise of the gang culture.

“These attitudes and behaviors include poor parenting and a lack of trust in law enforcement. The political tribalism which has pervaded our country for over 50 years without relief has also contributed to the problem. Crime has become another source of the blame game between politicians.

“If this culture persists the problem will not be solved by more spending on law enforcement. Law enforcement must play its critical role to repel the attack on society with all necessary force but the society must at the same time pursue the long term solutions and persuade our people that our society can be much better than it currently is.

“To this end the Chamber of Industry and Commerce proposes the establishment of a small but high-powered committee involving nominees of the political parties, civil society and our youth to recommend as a matter of urgency a programme of solutions and action.”