Basseterre, St.Kitts (June 20th 2017):- The fight against the decades old crime problem on St.Kitts-Nevis is becoming much more difficult for law enforcement officers with the recent meteoric rise in what is being labelled as FAKE CRIME NEWS. On a day when the federation’s security forces were grappling with the aftermath of the latest fatal shooting the circulation of “fake news” went into overdrive. Dozens of reports were circulated via various sources propagating a number incidents that all turned out to be bogus. Within minutes of the shooting incident at the hospital a story began making the rounds regarding the fatal stabbing of a woman by her taxi driver husband. The Taxi Driver’s image was plastered across social media as the murderer in this alleged domestic fatal stabbing. It turns out that this fatal stabbing story was completely false and the police have confirmed absolutely no reports or incidents of any fatal stabbings on the island. Also making the rounds was a supposed robbery of Western Union. This too made the rounds and was heavily circulated by a number of media outlets. The Management of Western Union indicated that the story is totally false and no such incident occurred. Similarly the story regarding someone being shot in Keys and a supposed shootout in Cayon where it was being reported that Police Officers in Cayon were calling for help from Officers in Basseterre was also heavily circulated and again the police have indicated that they have received no reports of anyone being shot in Keys or in any other town or village outside of the Buckleys area where the hospital shooting incident took place. They further stated that there was no report of any shooting of any kind in Cayon as was being circulated.
The emergence of the fake news phenomenon on the island is creating additional headaches for law enforcement who already have their hands full with the continuing crime problem. Police officials have indicated that these fake stories only undermines the work of the police as well as the confidence of the general public in the Security Forces.
The propulsion of these fake crime news stories are fueled by elements of the Opposition . The Opposition SKN Labour Party has already come in for heavy criticism on a number of occasions for their practice of generating and propagating fake crime news. In December Freedom FM and THG published a news item which stated that a recording device was found in MP Marcella Liburd’s vehicle. In the said news story Leader of the Opposition St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Dr Denzil Douglas told THG News “This desperation is now being taken to a new criminal level.
It is now discovered that they broke in to Marcella Liburd’s home to install recording devices to invade the honorable lady’s privacy. Similarly, only today a microphone and a recording device was discovered planted in the vehicle of the said Marcella Liburd.”
Investigations by the Police later revealed that there was no such recording device in the MP Liburd’s vehicle .
In another news report Nigel Carty stated that the Police High Command was indulged in a practice of planting guns in an effort to enhance the image and view of the police force and their crime fighting efforts. Carty stated ““Recently we heard for example of police officers complaining that policemen are themselves planting guns, planting weapons in places and then claiming that they are new finds of weapons to give the public the impression that the police and the government are in some way making headway in relation to the fight against crime.”
This statement was categorically denied by the High Command of the Police Force through Ag Commissioner Ian Queeley. Commissioner Queeley further registered the disappointment of the Police Force in what can only be seen as efforts of Carty and by extension the Opposition SKN Labour Party to undermine the efforts of the police force.
COP Queeley said ““The continuing efforts to ensure citizen safety in St. Kitts and Nevis will not wane in the face of such unfounded allegations like those levied by Senator Carty and others.”
Our crime situation is proving to be a huge and tough task for our Security Forces. This task is only made worst when certain elements driven by mischief and politics generate these unfounded, untrue, fake news stories. These stories seriously undermines the efforts of the security forces and makes their already difficult task of fighting crime even more difficult. This practice should descist and be condemned by all .