Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 20, 2017 (SKNIS): Officials at the Ministry of National Security are pouring over suggestions and recommendations from stakeholder groups as to ways their respective agencies can actively contribute to prevent and reduce crime in St. Kitts and Nevis.
The proposals were the main outcomes of the National Crime Reduction Symposium held at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort on February 09. It was facilitated by Crime Reduction Specialist and International Social Skills Consultant, Dr. Neals Chitan, who presented on twelve psycho-social roots of crime. The participants were then divided into groups for the practical half of the session.
“All of the groups would have responded to the worksheet, which required them to identify the root of crime, which is germane to their sphere of interests, to give ideas to what strategies they would bring to address this root and what strategies would be used to determine over time … whether they are working in reducing or preventing crime,” Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Osmond Petty, stated.
Groupings included youth with representation from the Department of Youth Empowerment, youth group members and unattached youth; Social Services and Community Development; the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, which featured some NGOs; legal professionals; health; security forces; victims of crime or family members impacted by crime; and others to name a few. A number of civic minded individuals also participated from all walks of life in St. Kitts and from Nevis.
As the ministry staff organizes the proposals from the symposium, suggestions from private individuals and interest groups that did not attend the forum, are also being reviewed to include in a larger document. Feedback from previous sessions Dr. Chitan conducted with community persons such as persons in conflict with the law including, incarcerated youth and gang members were also included.
While some would have expected some gang members and prison inmates to attend the symposium, Mr. Petty said he took the decision against such due to public safety concerns.
“Dr. Chitan already had one forum with gang members and he has also spoken with people on the block at Cayon, who are, if not in gangs, are associated with people who are in gangs, so we are able to reflect some of their opinions. It’s just that they weren’t there at the symposium and that really was my decision because I didn’t really want to expose any person to any security risks,” the permanent secretary added.
The recommendations will be compiled into a draft document that will be reviewed by a smaller group and finalized to fit into the Dr. Chitan’s EDER approach. EDER stands for Enforcement, Diagnostic, Education and Rehabilitation and is a four-dimensional approach to prevent and reduce crime.