High Command shares Crime Reduction Strategy with Caribbean counterparts
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – CRIME and violence have reached an unprecedented level in the Caribbean Region, which have attracted the attention of many international media houses and organisations, as well as some influential individuals whose comments have gone viral on social media.
This situation had led the CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Erwin LaRocque, to call on CARICOM member states to find a solution to counteract this scourge of society.
He made that call on February 26, 2018 during his address at the opening of the 29th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government held in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
That call was answered by St. Kitts and Nevis; a small country with a population of just over 51,000 under the administration of the tri-party Team Unity.
In late February of this year, the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force (RSCNPF), in collaboration with the Ministry of National Security, had developed and introduced a Crime Reduction in the Federation.
While in its embryonic stage, by July the Federation had recorded 13 homicides and a number of gun-related incidents, most of which were gang-related.
However, with the Team Unity Government’s introduction of a multi-cultural/multi-modal/multi-systems grassroots model as a structure for encouraging and assisting gang members to exit gangs, as well as the Interim Strategy for the Reduction in Gang Induced Violence, the homicide rate did not increase and gang members had handed in a large amount of firearms and ammunition to the police.
This historic phenomenon was done in August when, through a third party, 30 firearms, ranging from an AK47 Assault Rifle, a 12-gauge Shotgun, .22 Pistols and a quantity of Gluck Pistols, and 73 rounds of assorted ammunition.
When combined with what the police have been able to take into custody through various operations, a total of 43 firearms and over 100 rounds of ammunition were removed from the streets of communities around the Federation.
Following the success of those initiatives, Clinical and Forensic Psychologist, Dr. Sharon Gopaul-McNicol strongly believed that the model introduced by the Team Unity Government could become the blueprint for crime prevention programmes within the Caribbean.
She had made this pronouncement at a press conference hosted by the RSCNPF on August 13, 2019.
As a result of the crime-fighting initiative, representatives from the Offices of the US Embassy and the British National Crime Agency (BNCA) - which are responsible for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean – and the Royal Barbados Police Force had visited the Federation in late August to examine the success of this dynamism.
Senior Manager of the BNCA, John Bowman had said that he was amazed at the results the police are having in the Federation and that he was first updated about the initiative by the High Command.
And true to Dr. Gopaul-McNicol’s belief, Commissioner of Police Hilroy Brandy and Assistant Commissioner of Police McCarta Browne recently returned to St. Kitts from Barbados, where they were invited to make a presentation on the Federation’s Crime Reduction Strategy and its gang engagement efforts.
According to a police communiqué, the meeting was organised by the National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom and was centered on Crime and Security in the Caribbean.
Among those in attendance were representatives from Member States of the Regional Security System, as well as representatives from the Drug Enforcement Agency of the United States of America, French Caribbean Territories, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.
As a result of the Federation’s success experienced to date, both the organiser and attendees discussed recommendations for how the approach could be implemented in other Caribbean countries.
Other topics discussed at the meeting were the Proliferation of Firearms, Homicides, Gang Culture and Drug Trafficking.
With the success achieved by the implementation of the crime-fighting initiatives that, to date, have created an unparalleled period of tranquility in the Federation, and members of the High Command making a presentation on how the approach could be implemented in other Caribbean countries, symbolise the existence of intelligentsia and strategic thinkers within a country that can be classified as “The David among the Goliaths in the Caribbean”.