Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 16, 2017 (SKNIS): Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, while wrapping up the debate on the Firearms Amendment Bill, 2017, said that it is clear indication that government will not condone any acts of violence, and that it will not tolerate the hiding of any criminal.
“The Bill by increasing the penalty by 50 percent from 10 to 15 years is an indication to all who would hear and listen that they must find no hiding place. No hiding place in the homes of a parent or family member. No hiding place in our schools nor in our churches. No hiding place in our political parties. No hiding place anywhere. Law and order must again be the mantra,” said Prime Minister Harris, while ensuring citizens and residents that the government will do all in its power in the pursuit of justice. “Yes, I accept that there is a clarion call by all law abiding citizens for stiffer penalties to be exacted on the culprits and we are doing so today and we will do more. This Bill then is about the future. It will not bring back the loved ones lost, but it will certainly discourage others who know that the consequences, when caught, will be severely harsh.”
The minister of national security stressed that the Bill will bring a measure of relief to the “mourning families who know that the brutes behind the homicides will suffer severe consequences”.
Prime Minister Harris extended sympathies to the many families who lost loved ones to guns and violence over the last 24 years.
“The gruesome nature of these homicides has left many still traumatized,” said Prime Minister Harris, while reflecting on a Member of Parliament’s deeply personal and moving presentation on day two of Parliament on Wednesday, June 14. “The riveting testimony of the Hon Deputy Prime Minister and member for St Christopher #5 [the Honourable Shawn Richards] yesterday about his own near fatal encounter is a certain reminder that crime does not discriminate along political lines, and the illegal guns and ammunition must be seriously sanctioned in our country.”
Dr. Harris also reflected on the Honourable Vincent Byron’s address where he spoke passionately about having the Firearms Amendment Bill 2017 passed into law.
“The Hon Attorney General in his presentation made the point that the carrying of guns… is an exceptional privilege if you will, to do it legally,” said the prime minister. “He said it is a matter of exceptional seriousness and if it is of exceptional seriousness it seems congruent that there must be an exceptional penalty for infringement and offences in relation to the firearms. This is what really this Bill is about, to bring some relief to people’s mental frame, to send a signal that crime will not pay and law abiding citizens will be protected by the government.