Mark Brantley – Opposition Leader
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
Mark Brantley, CCM
August 17, 2011
Like all of you, I have heard with horror the tragic news of another senseless murder in our country. By my tally, the discovery of this latest victim takes the number of murders to 3 in less than 3 days and total 25 thus far in the bloodiest 8 months in our history as a Nation.
While I do not believe that there is anything now to be gained from long speeches and philosophical debate, I felt it necessary to pen these few words to express my profound sorrow to the families of these young men and to the wider family of Kittitians and Nevisians who long for nothing more than seeing a restoration of peace in our beloved Nation.
It now seems clear that the criminals are fearless. They understand that their chances of being caught are remote and that there is no political will in the Government to arrest this scourge. We have seen no drastic new approaches to tackle what is obviously now a pandemic of violent crime. So that we all have some perspective, Dominica has had 3 murders thus far this year and Barbados I believe 5. Both have several times the population of St. Kitts and Nevis. We must therefore ask ourselves are the Dominican or Barbadian people inherently “better” people than Kittitians and Nevisians? Are they better behaved? Better educated? More moralistic? Less prone to criminality? Or is there something more? How is it they can enjoy a low crime rate while we in this Caribbean sea continue to bleed?
For my part, I am tired of making proposals to the Government. Am tired of attending symposium after symposium with no discernible effect or follow up. The time for cheap talk and long speeches is over. This is now a time for action. I therefore say to the Prime Minister as Commander in Chief:
- Return immediately to St. Kitts and Nevis from your vacation abroad.
- Take immediate and visible charge of the security situation in the country using all public media in the country each day.
- Declare a State of Emergency in certain known trouble spots in the country and impose dusk to dawn curfews in those areas.
- Allow the security authorities emergency powers to stop and search and arrest without warrant. Recall all security personnel from leave and flood the trouble spots with security personnel for 24 hours per day every day. We need a surge just like Bush did in Iraq.
- Target known gang leaders and gang members for raids, searches and property seizures. Enforce all laws such as loitering, lewd conduct, bad words, traffic, noise, etc with ZERO TOLERANCE!
- Bring in the RSS and/or appeal to friendly Caribbean and international neighbours for security personnel to be deployed to St. Kitts and Nevis at least for a 90-120 day period initially.
- Have the DPP and Magistracy/Judiciary on alert to try criminals day and night.
- Patrol the ports especially the seabridge to ensure that criminal elements are not permitted to slip easily between St. Kitts and Nevis. There must be no part of the country where they should be allowed to feel safe. NO PART!!
It is high time that we accept that WE ARE AT WAR inside St. Kitts and Nevis. And the Government must have the iron will NOW to deal with this cancer. It CANNOT be business as usual.
Mr. Prime Minister we have had our differences politically but you will have my FULLEST support if only you will finally stand up and lead on this issue of crime and security. And if you refuse, then those of goodwill in this country will have to rise up and defend our Nation without you!
May God bless us all even as we confront our darkest hour in our young Nation.
Leader of the Opposition
St. Kitts and Nevis