BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, August 18, 2017 – Members of the different religious groups across St. Kitts and Nevis have committed themselves to playing a stronger role in helping to reduce the incidences of crime and violence, particularly among young people in the Federation.
This renewed commitment by leaders within the religious community was made when they met with Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris; National Security Advisor, Major General Stewart Saunders; Commander of the St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force, Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Wallace; Deputy Commissioner of Police, Hilroy Brandy; Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard Unit, Major Anthony Comrie and other high ranking security officials.
The meeting was held at Government Headquarters on Thursday, August 17, 2017.
Prime Minister Harris said the meeting was organized essentially to introduce and acquaint the religious leaders with the new National Security Advisor and to advise them of his roles and responsibilities in that position.
“Since he has been here he has met with the High Command of the Defence Force, the High Command at the Police, our prisons etc.; he has engaged some other persons in the national security frame and I think earlier this week, we had a very good meeting with the economic actors, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the Hotel and Tourism Association, and so his first couple of weeks, among other things, is doing that, and so he has come to hear from you; what are your views, your concerns to see how he can help us and help the security forces think on these things and incorporate what he may consider and we may consider the felt concerns of the people into our planning,” the prime minister stated.
Major General Saunders, in his remarks, reminded the members of the clergy of the important role of the church in the overall development of the country.
He said, “You are a vital aspect of what I look at from my perspective called the social intervention criteria and all the programmes that have been enunciated today are programmes that are critical to fighting crime and unless we can put it forward or get it going in a unified perspective, we are going to be fighting a lost cause.”
Acting President of the St. Kitts Evangelical Association, Reverend Hilton Joseph, echoed the sentiments shared during the meeting that crime is everyone’s problem.
“My heart cry is for all of us as clergy to work together with government. There needs to be a unified head if we are to confront this issue of crime because it is not a their problem, it is our problem,” Reverend Joseph added.
Among the issues raised by the representatives of the various churches included the presence of security forces at the Federation’s schools, the reintroduction of social programmes, such as the Scouts, Brigades and Cadets in schools and the role of the church in the decision and policy-making process.
The religious leaders who attended Thursday’s meeting represented the St. Kitts Christian Council, the St. Kitts Evangelical Association and the Nevis Evangelical Association.