National Crime Reduction Symposium signals steps to mobilize a more concerted societal response

(PRESS SEC) — Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris delivered an impactful and thought-provoking speech today, Thursday, February 9th, 2017, during the opening session of a National Crime Reduction Symposium at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort.

“This symposium comes nigh two weeks short of the two-year anniversary of the Team Unity administration following the elections of February 2015,” Prime Minister Harris, who is the Minister of National Security, said, adding that, “This, in my view, is an example of the continuing commitment of the government to do all that is necessary to tackle and reduce criminal activity in our beloved Federation.”

Dr. Harris also said that, “The research strongly suggests that families are uniquely placed to raise healthy and responsible members of society, but the task of putting children first goes well beyond the family to include communities and society…Crime prevention, of course, must focus on improvements in the economic, social and family structures, but we must ask in all of this ‘What is the role of the church?’ and so we are very much appreciative of the presence of members of the clergy here. In that regard, I want to commend Pastor Ericson Cumberbatch on his new appointment as the chaplain for our security forces…Different stakeholder groups here should be challenged to determine their roles in crime prevention. If we go by the research, this is not just a function for law enforcement. This is a function for each and every one of us.”

Also present at today’s symposium were His Excellency Sir S. W. Tapley Seaton GCMG, CVO, QC, JP, members of the cabinet of ministers, the diplomatic corps, the judiciary, the opposition, and stakeholders who work in customs and border protection, education, finance, healthcare, law enforcement, legal services, social services, sustainable development and the media. In attendance, too, were stakeholders who work with cultural organizations, sports clubs and youth groups.

The symposium was organized by the Ministry of National Security and co-sponsored by the Coalition of Support for St. Kitts-Nevis Security Initiatives (CSSKNSI), its longtime benefactor and partner in the fight against crime. The CSSKNSI includes Christophe Harbour, Cockleshell Bay Development, Four Seasons Resort Nevis, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, Royal St. Kitts Hotel & Casino (formerly known as Jack Tar), St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino, and Windsor University.

The one-day symposium, which focused on Uprooting Crime & Violence, featured an engaging and relevant keynote presentation in the morning by Dr. Neals Chitan, as well as group work and discussions facilitated by him in the afternoon. Dr. Chitan is a crime reduction specialist and social skills consultant who is working with the Team Unity Government.

Prime Minister Harris – at his press conference on Wednesday, February 1st – said that, “Dr. Chitan will help in the mobilization of a more concerted societal response to crime.”

Turning to address Dr. Chitan at last week’s press conference, the Honourable Prime Minister then said, “I gather that you, sir, have already been active in our primary and secondary schools. You have been at our college. You have engaged our PTAs [parent teacher associations]. You have even been at our prisons both in Basseterre and on Nevis, and you have been to the New Horizons Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre.”

Dr. Harris continued: “I gather already that people are listening, so we expect that we will be able to appeal to the minds and the hearts of all citizens and residents – that they have a responsibility to make St. Kitts and Nevis the safest place to live, to work, to play and to invest…As part of this broad societal engagement, we will on Thursday, February 9th, 2017 join over 200 stakeholders participating in a National Crime Reduction Symposium. What should emerge from this event will be a localized, national crime-fighting strategic plan.”

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