PM Douglas Addresses The Nation
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
July 28, 2009 (CUOPM)
St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas has given an assurance that all crimes will be addressed seriously.
“The criminal justice system, our law enforcement establishment, and the apparatus of the state has been addressing, and will continue to address the issue of existing criminals, whether they be white collar or gang-related,” said Prime Minister Douglas during his weekly radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister” on Tuesday.
He said that the criminal justice system will deal with the white collar criminals, and it will deal with violent gangs.
“No country that hopes to make any progress in the associated and key area of crime prevention, however, will make any progress as long as there are those within that society who attempt to politicise crime, who attempt to use crime to make themselves, in some way look good, who try to twist the global phenomenon of crime into some strange evidence of just how much the country is suffering because they do not have political power. Whether the politicians in question are in New York, in London, or in Johannesburg, it is opportunistic, it is cynical, and it lacks a sense of honour. And I want the people of St. Kitts and Nevis to be sophisticated enough, and wise enough, to see this,” said the Prime Minister.
Dr. Douglas, who is also the Minister of national Security said the issue of crime prevention, however, is never the responsibility of government alone.
“Not in St. Kitts-Nevis, not in Tokyo, not anywhere else. All over the world, the societies with the lowest levels of crime are those in which there are high levels of societal concern, societal interaction, and societal collaboration across class, age, and other lines. What any country that is serious about battling crime needs, therefore, is a concerned, an energetic, and a socially involved populace,” said Dr. Douglas.
He said any unelected politician, anywhere in the world, therefore, who wants to impress upon the electorate his or her genuine concern about crime, should be judged, not by how loudly he or she condemns the existence of crime, but by how active he or she is in mobilising their supporters to roll up their sleeves and become involved in after school programmes, in church groups, literacy programs, in the type of cultural, life-skills, and self-esteem programmes that caring individuals all over the world spear-head in order to prevent their societies from succumbing to the lure of drugs, and violence, and despair.
Prime Minister Douglas pointed out that one does not need to be in government to demonstrate that one is genuinely concerned about crime.
“One does not have to be in government to demonstrate that one has good and workable ideas to battle crime where it matters most ““ that is, in the area of crime prevention. One does not have to be in government in order to demonstrate one’s ability to turn lives around. It is very easy to talk, of course, it is very easy to condemn, it is very easy to criticize,” said Dr. Douglas.
He issued a challenge to unelected politicians all over the world, to use the enormous amounts of free-time available to them to stop talking and start acting – while the democratically elected officials grapple with the challenges of providing training for police officers, developing innovative programs for the schools, strengthening the judiciary, securing funding and personnel for in-prison skills training and strengthening strategic law-enforcement alliances within the region and beyond.
According to Prime Minister Douglas, elected officials have real and pressing responsibilities in the area of crime fighting, and in the case of St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Administration, “are meeting these responsibilities with a degree of concern, commitment, and determination never before seen in this country.”
“Some try to be politically opportunistic by pointing out that there have been more killings in recent years in St. Kitts and Nevis than there were before.
“Is St. Kitts & Nevis also to be blamed for the rise in killings in Antigua and Barbuda, St. Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago, Eastern Europe, Colombia, and rural America in recent years as well? Clearly, both white collar crime and increasing gang violence are global phenomena. That does not make it acceptable in St. Kitts and Nevis, and my government has been doing, and will continue to do everything in its power in our fight against this cancer,” said Dr. Douglas.
He said while unelected officials have the right to criticise and condemn, that is not enough. “They must do more than condemn in these challenging times. They must use the enormous amounts of free time on their hands to think of and implement programmes as genuinely concerned citizens, to make a difference”¦..to lead others away from lives of crime”¦..to make drugs, violence and criminality less appealing to those who may be tempted to think that there is no other way,” said the Prime Minister.