BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – CLINICAL and Forensic Psychologist, Dr. Sharon Gopaul-McNicol strongly believes that the model upon which the Team Unity Government is embarking could become the blueprint for crime prevention programmes within the Caribbean.
Dr. Gopaul-McNicol made this pronouncement yesterday (Aug. 13) at a press conference hosted by the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force.
According to a release from the Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister, the Government is embarking upon a multi-cultural/multi-modal/multi-systems grassroots model as the structure for encouraging and assisting gang members to exit the gangs.
It stated that Dr. Gopaul-McNicol, who has over 30 years experience in her profession, is now working pro bono with the Ministry of National Security to help in the successful build out of the programme.
In her presentation at the press conference, Dr. Gopaul-McNicol stated that over the last few decades the response to crime and violence has primarily been a military approach.
“This is the first time that a country in the region understood that we had to go beyond the military approach and embrace a multi-modal/multi-system [model]; meaning many modes and many systems. You cannot address social conditions that are driven by problems born within the communities with a military approach, and hence this entire model was born.”
She was high in praise of the Dr. Timothy Harris-led Team Unity Government, noting what makes it stand out is that “it is the first time that a government actually committed to all the layers and levels that needed to happen”.
“So when the multi-systems approach came, the first thing that has to happen is that the government has to be committed and it requires the involvement of various ministries within this administration and then the second thing is that the persons who are involved in the criminal activities…it’s important that these youngsters are able to trust the system that is asking them to change their lives, and [the government is] going to create alternative avenues for you to live outside of the criminal world,” she said.
The Clinical and Forensic Psychologist pointed to the handing over of 30 illegal firearms to the Police Force by gang members through a trusted third party, noting it is a clear indication that these individuals are in fact trusting the system being put in place to eradicate social ills.
The release explained that the overarching goal of the multi-systems grassroots model is to build Community Teams in different geographical areas around St. Kitts and Nevis.
It added that each team would comprise the following:
• Community workers who are born and or reside within the communities, who are familiar with the 'happenings in a particular community;
• Religious leaders;
• Community leaders;
• Youth leaders;
• Community Police Officers; and
• Representatives of political parties.