BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Jun 19, CMC – Police have described as “irresponsible journalism” a report by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that described St. Kitts-Nevis as one “the most dangerous places on the earth”.
In a statement, the police said that it was taking “strong objection” to the report aired here on Wednesday, saying it contained information that was misleading.
“The BBC News-day reporter conjured up a negative image of a nation where residents and visitors need to be overly concerned about their safety. The impression one would get from listening to this unfortunate piece of journalism is that our twin-island federation, that many residents and visitors call ‘two islands one paradise’ and which many investors and reputable business journalists refer to as ‘the sweet spot of the Caribbean’, has rampant crime.
“The facts are that major crimes are falling in our country,” the police said citing official figures, adding the twin island Federation receives annually over one million visitors “and the incidence of crime against our visitors are extremely rare”.
Providing figures from 2013 to 2015, the police said the facts reveal that over the three-year period “major crimes are down almost 60 per cent”.
The police said it was assuring the public that it has put in place a crime fighting plan that enhances community outreach activities in an effort to root out criminal elements, and it has the full support of the Dr Timothy Harris Administration and safety and security were matters accorded top priority.
The rest of the police statement reads:
“The safety and security of residents and visitors alike are matters accorded top priority. Our country has hosted several major events already this year without any incident of crime. These include the CARIFTA Games, the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police (ACCP) Conference, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Board of Governors Conference and the TRADEWINDS hemispheric security training exercises.
“These events attracted persons from all walks of life and many different countries. Be assured that the same high standards of security will be maintained throughout the upcoming events,” the police added.
Many people have taken to call in programmes to criticise the report.
St. Kitts and Nevis has documented 16 homicides already for the year. There were 24 last year and according to the BBC report with a population of close to 55,000 people, statistically, the Federation has one of the highest murder rates per capita in the world.
But irate callers said that the report was suspicious with one caller indicating why the report was aired at a time when the island had been hosting a regional conference on the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) that has come under intense scrutiny from Europe and other developed countries.
“This to me is very suspicious,” the caller said, with another adding “this smells stinks to me”.
The police said it should also be noted that the island will host more matches in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), an annual Caribbean event viewed by millions of cricket loving fans around the world.
“We take the security of everyone in this country very seriously and we give assurance to all residents and visitors that all can expect the highest levels of protection from our Police force.”