Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Commissions National Security Taskforce to Address the Crime and Violence as a Public Health Issue
Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis, June 5, 2023 [Press Secretary, PMO] – The Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis remains committed to the maintenance of law and order and the safety and security of citizens and residents. In keeping with his thrust to ensure that sustainable national development is a priority, Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis and Minister of National Security, Hon Dr. Terrance Drew, has commissioned a National Security Taskforce to initiate the rollout of a new initiative that approaches crime and violence from a public health perspective.
The Taskforce is comprised of the Prime Minister, Minister of National Security, and Chairperson, Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew; Dr. Izben Williams; and senior management officials from across the Government, including the Ministry of National Security, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Development, and the Prime Minister’s Office.
Dr. Izben Williams, a renowned Consultant Psychiatrist, Founder and President of the Ripple Institute SKN, Professor and Head of the Department of Behavioral Sciences & Medical Ethics, and Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development at Windsor University School of Medicine, will lead the initiative as the expert in the field across the region.
Dr. Williams was the keynote speaker at the Regional Symposium to address Crime and Violence as a Public Health Issue – The Crime Challenge held in April 2023 in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
In his keynote address at the Regional Symposium, Dr. Williams stated, “Violence can be prevented. We now have the knowledge, we have developed tools, and we must now harness the courage to face up to it and reverse its trend. Violence is now clearly recognized as a public health problem, but just 40 years ago the words “violence” and “health” were rarely used in the same sentence. Several serendipitous occurrences and observed trends contributed to a growing recognition and acceptance that violence could and should be addressed from a public health vantage.”
The team is currently developing a comprehensive and scientifically proven action plan to implement and sustain a culture of non-violence within the Federation.
Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew stated, “Societal peace and stability are prerequisites for true social and economic development and for the accomplishment of our progressive Sustainable Island State Agenda. I strongly believe that what is learned can be unlearned if there is early application of best-practice interventions from various sectors.”
The initiative will take a holistic approach incorporating national security, social development, education, and health.
Several programmes will be rolled out to target children ages six (6) to twelve (12) years and adolescents ages thirteen (13) to nineteen (19) years, to help remodel their thinking and behaviour by strengthening conflict resolution skills, critical thinking, and analytical skills and boost their self-esteem.
In addition to social interventions, the concept will embrace criminal justice by enhancing law enforcement initiatives and reviewing some of our current laws.