BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Feb 16, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris says criminals must never find protection anywhere in St. Kitts-Nevis and urged citizens not to protect them as law enforcement officials implement various initiatives to stem the recent increase in criminal activities in the twin island Federation.
In a radio and television broadcast on Friday night, Harris said that the criminal activities, in which at least seven people were killed in as many days, if left unchecked had the potential to undermine the socio-economic gains achieved by the country over the past four years.
“The development, peace and progress of our beautiful country must never be compromised by the actions of a few criminals,” he said, adding “this level of depravity and gross disregard for life and property cannot, and will not be tolerated by my government”
He said that the Cabinet met with principal law enforcement agencies twice this week and the agencies have advised of their plans to “vigorously defend the peace and ensure the safety of all citizens and residents”.
Prime Minister Harris said as a result, a number of security initiatives will be pursued on a long-term sustained basis and that he was calling on all citizens and residents to give their fullest cooperation to the law enforcement officers as they go about their special and general operations in our crime hotspots and all other areas of concerns.
“The core mandate of our law enforcement officers is that of finding the criminals and bringing them to justice. Criminals must never find comfort or protection anywhere in St. Kitts and Nevis. Everyone, indeed our families, churches, businesses and political parties are being called upon to stand firmly with the security forces as they work to make us safe and prevent further loss of life and injury to persons and property.”
Prime Minister Harris said that while he is not at liberty to make public every initiative in the police’s vigorous response, “however, I would advise that there will be some measure of inconvenience as police hunt down the criminals in the pursuit of justice.
“Vehicle checkpoints will be par for the course. Persons should expect some delay at police checkpoints and cooperate readily with law enforcement. In anticipation of possible transportation delays, it is advised that commuters make earlier and better preparation to get to and from work. “
He warned persons who in association with known criminals of interest to the police should provide information to the police, and those who have information on any killing or violent act or criminal activity are encouraged to report same.
“This is not a time to protect criminals. Now is the time to turn them over to our law enforcement agencies,” he said, adding that Cabinet has approved the recommendations from the police that would include increased special operations to be commenced immediately as well as the Attorney General determining what additional legislative responses can be effected in the very near future to give greater support to law enforcement agencies in their fight against crime
He said in addition, the police would release the names and photos of several persons of interest to them, “and we encourage those with knowledge of the whereabouts of these persons to inform the police soonest.
“My fellow citizens and rResidents, these are critical times. We cannot be uncertain about where we stand on the issue of law and order. The peace, prosperity and orderly development of our country must be number one.
“Let us therefore work together with our law enforcement officers to stamp out crime, in particular violent crimes. We must also work together earnestly to restore our land to a place where peace and safety beautifully abound,” Harris told the nation.