BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - More than 100 individuals from various sectors of the Federation converged at the St. Kitts Marriott this morning (Feb. 9) for a full day of strategising on dealing with crime and violence within St. Kitts and Nevis.
The forum took the form of a symposium on “Uprooting Crime and Violence” and is meant to devise tailor-made strategies specifically for the Federation to fight the root causes and the effects of crime and violence.
Chairperson of the event and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security Osmund Petty, explained that while much attention has been given to crime, less attention has been placed on its root causes.
The guest speaker at the event, Crime Reduction Specialist Dr. Neals Chitan, gave a dynamic and eye-opening presentation during the first session of the day where he explained the 12 main causes of crime and violence.
He said most of these hinge on people’s lack of respect for their fellowmen.
Dr. Chitan vividly expounded upon and listed the root causes of crime as being: mental illness; unmanaged impulses; uncontrolled confrontations; criminal deportation; addictions and compulsions; inability to deal with consequences; media, music and web influences; greed and selfishness; image and profile enhancement; hopelessness and desperation; matters of the heart and loss, grief and hurt.
The International Social Skill Consultant said he would not be developing a crime-reduction strategy for the Federation. But he challenged the symposium’s participants to use the information provided and craft a workable strategy applicable in the local context.
Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris said crime prevention must focus on improvement in the economic, social and the family structures. He questions about the roles of various sectors of society should be asked. These sectors, he said, include: the schools, the home, the media, social and youth clubs, politicians and the judiciary
“At the wider level, people and stakeholder groups here should be challenged to determine their roles in crime prevention…This is not just a function for law-enforcement, this is a function for each and everyone of us…”
Participants of the event included: business officials, members of the judiciary, teachers, social workers, clergymen, media operatives, members of the Rastafarian community, law enforcement officials and Members of Parliament – both Government and Opposition.
While the morning strategy focused on presentations, the afternoon’s was to have seen the participants being divided into groups by which strategies would be devised.