NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (July 05, 2013) — Call Crime Stoppers [1-800-8477] with credible information and you will be rewarded. That is the message Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) responsible for the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force – Nevis Division Robert Liburd wants to reach members of the public, who are privy to information regarding crime on Nevis.
The Senior Police Officer was at the time a guest at the Voice of Nevis (VON) Radio’s weekly “Let’s Talk” programme on July 02, 2013, along with Premier of Nevis Hon. Vance Amory. They were at the time speaking to the issue of a crime wave experienced on the island and the measures in place to receive anonymous information from the public.
“We have come up with the Crime Stoppers programme…last year at the Four Seasons Hotel and this is what we are now using. We hope that persons would take the opportunity to call the Crime Stoppers number because using this, you don’t have any excuse to say that you are not talking to the Police. When you use the Crime Stoppers number which is 1-800-8477, this number takes you to Canada. The police officer or the ex-police whosoever are the persons there, they do not know us here in St. Kitts, they do not know the persons who are calling. All they are interested in is obtaining the information the caller has to share and they will take that information and they will give the caller a code.
“The people in Canada will send back the information to the officers here … We will take that information and go and make the search…We will be able to charge persons. Then the person who made that call to the number in Canada will obtain an award. That reward is set up in such a way, that the code which they were given will go to a bank. It is our businesses here financing that programme, so the persons in the community have no excuse that they are afraid to share the information,” he explained.
According to Mr. Liburd, because information was not forthcoming from the public, criminals had become emboldened and they had began carrying out their acts, irrespective of the time and place which posed a serious concern for Police.
“As a result of the people not saying anything, the criminals have become more emboldened. They are not afraid to do what they are doing and that’s a real serious concern for us.
“A lot of people in Nevis and in the Federation do not support wrongdoing. There are very good citizens within the community, very, very good upright citizens within the community and they frown upon this kind of activity but they too are so petrified that they are afraid. So though they do not like what is happening, they are so petrified and traumatised that they are afraid to talk.
Regarding the public’s dwindling trust in the Police, ACP Liburd admitted that there was some talk about some instances of mistrust but was adamant that there were officers within the ranks to whom persons could speak.
“We have always heard the talk and I must tell you, yes, we have had instances and there was some mistrust but I could also tell you that we have officers within our ranks to whom you can speak and share information.
“However, to get around that, because we recognise that the public continues to say ‘I don’t know who to talk to; I am afraid to share information because somebody is going to say something,’ we came up with the Crime Stoppers and this is an international programme. I was very instrumental in getting this programme here to St. Kitts,” he said.
In response to whether the Police were committed to the eradication of crime, Mr. Liburd said that was the case but they could not succeed if it was all left to them. He urged members of the public to assist in whatever way they could.
“Yes, we are committed to eradicate crime but we cannot do it by ourselves; we cannot handle this problem by ourselves. There are things here the other sectors of the community have to come in and assist with. For example I was talking to a chap just a couple days ago because I talk to persons one-on-one. I meet them in the supermarket, in the clinic, in town, in the stores and I talk to them and one chap told me ‘I have a problem. I was in prison, I came out, the case was dropped against me but I cannot find a job. I have a kid or two [and] I cannot support them, I cannot support myself, I cannot support my girlfriend. I have a gun so what you expect me to do?’ That’s just not only for the Police; some other sector of the community has to deal with that.
“I asked him ‘Well, have you gone to these places and applied for a job?’ He said, ‘Of course, I have been even to government’ and he said that once you have a criminal background even if he wins his case, even the government service won’t take you on, that is part of their policy. ‘So what about the private sector, have you tried that? Do you have a skill? He said ‘Yes, but I can’t get no job.’ I said ‘What about you start your own business?’ He said, ‘Well, I don’t have the money and the tools,’” he stated.
St. Kitts and Nevis has recorded 18 murders so far for 2013 with eight in Nevis. One caused by strangulation while the remaining seven were gun related.