Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 26, 2015 (SKNIS): The fight against violent crime in St. Kitts and Nevis is a top priority for the Government of National Unity. The Government is working assiduously to address the serious challenge of reducing crime with the implementation of the Police Six Point Plan and the Criminal Justice Strategic Board (CJSB).
Speaking on the Government’s weekly radio and television programme, “Working for You” on Wednesday, November 25, the Honourable Vincent Byron, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Legal Affairs and Communication, stated that statistics produced by the police, show that reported crimes generally are more under control, but in terms of violent crime and gun crime, they are still out of control.
“We have to deal with it as properly as we can,” he said, while adding that it is a matter of the police to come up with and devise strategies as to how to do so. “The Government has supported the police in producing a Six Point Plan in which they have set out very clearly various strategies to combat these gun crimes, these violent crimes. But the police is only one stakeholder in the process by which we have to bring the crime under control.”
He mentioned that the Criminal Justice System (CJS) has a number of different components, and as such, the CJSB was designed in such a way to bring together the various agencies to work to reduce and improve as it were, not just the control of crime, but also the dispensing of criminal justice.
The Attorney General noted that as the board goes forward, they will be developing measurable goals that are beneficial to the safety and security of citizens and residents alike. He explained one such measure as it relates to Her Majesty’s Prison.
“For instance, the prison has some 60 people on remand. That’s too many people being on remand,” he said. “We are looking at how we can improve that to reduce the numbers significantly, so that people can have access to justice and go before the court, be dealt with and their matters be dispensed within a timely manner.”
He noted that there are a number of ways in which the board can measure and bring the matters under control and urged for all stakeholders and the public at large to work together and play their part, as opposed to everybody doing their own thing.
“We can have as it was, a network interlink support for each other and what concerns the police, can be supported by the DPP’s office and the prisons,” he said, while noting that the necessary measures will be available and they can be improved for the benefit of the society at large.
Honourable Vincent Bryon said the Government feels that this support is very critical and it will work to deal with the societal problems of crime. He said the establishment of the board has been a major effort on the Government’s part and they would want to work very hard to ensure that the board has the type of results over time in order to bring the criminal justice system under better control.
The CJSB was officially launched on Wednesday, November 11, 2015, where the Attorney General was sworn in as Chairman. It consists of members from the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force (RSCNPF), The High Court, Prisons, Customs, the St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF), New Horizons Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre (NHJRC), Probation and Child Protection Services, Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Education, the St. Kitts and Nevis Fire and Rescue Services and a Lawyer.