The following is an address to the nation made by Deputy Prime Minister the Honourable Sam Condor, on state owned radio on Thursday night, 18th August 2011.
Fellow Citizen, Residents all….
I speak to you with a heart grieved by the wanton loss of lives and by the suffering and chaos brought about by the upsurge of crime and violence, in our Land, in recent times.
I speak, mindful that our Federation has been put under tremendous pressure and that our people are grappling with the motive, cause, explanation and of course, with a solution to this problem.
Let me take this opportunity at the outset to express and record the sincere condolences of the Government and people of the Federation to the bereaved families and the grieving communities on the loss of their loved ones.
We are indeed living in extraordinary times; and we face an extraordinary challenge. But there is a “call to arms” for the people of this Great Nation. Not to arm ourselves with the weapons that are destroying our Federation’s youth; but a call to Vigilance!
Our innate response to danger is either flight or fight! We cannot, and must not allow ourselves to be consumed with fear; for there is yet hope! We must then employ every workable strategy to fight back.
It is true that those who are committing these atrocities are our sons, brothers, nephews, cousins and other relatives and friends; which perhaps makes it painful to accept, and to do what is right by Law and right for the survival of the rest of our families and Country.
And so we must be like Nehemiah of Biblical time, who allowed God to open his heart to the calamity and desperation of his brothers and sisters in Jerusalem, who were living in that city which was lying in rubble; and whose gates were burnt with fire.
We must like him, call upon the God of Heaven, and do our part in what is right, as we continue to work strategically, through the rebuilding process of our Federation.
As a God-fearing man, I am firmly of the view that this is not merely a war of guns and ammunition, but a deeper, invisible war for the heart, and soul of our Nation; the Nation’s youth, particularly our young men.
It is critical therefore, that we understand that we cannot afford to lose this war; or we lose our Nation’s greatest resource….our People!
I have always been mindful that the issue of crime and violence in our Federation must be fought on all fronts, engaging all our resources, inclusive of people and institutions.
I place on record my sincere appreciation for all the assistance and tangible support in strategies, funding, training and dedicated work that have been the input to date, from the High Command of the Security Forces, the Private Sector and other social partners, inclusive of Rotary Clubs of St. Kitts and Liamigua, Bankers Association, Religious Organizations, concerned individuals, friendly Nations, consultants from the Border Police Organization (Borderpol). Etc
As a result of their input, our National Security Ministry has been able to devise Anti-Crime, Anti-Gang Strategies, where-from a number of initiatives are being systematically introduced.
• Use of Island Constables under the Island Constables Act No.31 of 2009
• Increase police presence in communities with significant criminal activity and intensify raids to deter the possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs.
• Modernize the Ministry of National Security and improve communication and cooperation to increase public confidence and foster a relationship with the police and to encourage public participation in the fight against crime.
• The appointment of a cross-sectoral, high powered commission to advise on and monitor implementation of medium and long-term solutions recommended by the National Implementation Task Force on Crime or otherwise approved.
• Capacity building and strengthening of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
• Establishment of a Parliamentary Select Committee on Crime and Violence.
We will be debating shortly in Parliament, the Anti-Gang Bill which had its first reading on June 2nd, authorizing preventative and penal measures, formation of Anti-Gang Teams, designated Anti-Gang areas, stronger penalties inclusive of those for individuals who harbour, hide, assist or form gangs.
In this regard the Security Forces have the full support of the Government to do all within their power to arrest this scourge and return this Country to normalcy.
At that same sitting, a Resolution would be passed to operationalise the Anti Crime Strategic Plan and to establish a Parliamentary Select Committee, comprising of three members of Government, the Leader of Opposition and one other member of the opposition, to oversee the operation of this Plan.
I want to assure the people of this Federation, that I am on the front- line in this battle, and so must be each of you.
We must all adopt the strategy of “fight-back”!
• We will fight with stamina, because the integrity of our homes depends on it.
• Fight with endurance because the continued existence of our communities depend on it
• Fight with determination because our Nation’s prosperity and destiny depend on this fight.
In closing, I return to Nehemiah, whose first task was to inspect/ study/evaluate the city of Jerusalem and to determine exactly the layout of the Land and the enormity of the problem. Then he strategised to rescue and rebuild Jerusalem.
There is no secret that there are dark forces manifesting themselves in criminal activities in our communities. We must act now to rescue and rebuild our Jerusalem! Our Jerusalem is wherever we live, be it in the alley way, the street or the avenue.
Be it in a condo on a hillside, or a humble home in a busy community; we must all actively initiate the process of motivating all our people, as we send out the “Clarion Call” to join forces to rescue our Land!
I am confident that as a God-fearing people we can depend on your urgent response in this time of need.
This is a “Good Work”, so get involved, bringing your gifts and abilities. If we work with a heart of love, the God of Heaven would cause the seemingly impossible to become possible.
As for me, I have engaged my heart, soul and strength to this task, which I believe is a labour of love.
I encourage you therefore, to “come let us rebuild the Walls of our Jerusalem and we will no longer be in disgrace. Nehemiah 2:17.
God be our Guide, our Strength, our Stay!