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SKN CRIME BOLDLY ESCALATES INTO THE REALM OF MASS KILLINGS AS MUSIC FESTIVAL APPROACHES

SKN CRIME BOLDLY ESCALATES INTO THE REALM OF MASS KILLINGS AS MUSIC FESTIVAL APPROACHES

We are coming to the end of the month of May in St. Kitts and Nevis. May 2016 has been a month of murder and Mayhem. Echoing January 2016 where 6 murders took place in the period of one week, May 2016 has produced another day of horror.

In what has been described as a terrible day in the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, 2 young men were confirmed dead when the gun-smoke cleared, in what many describe as a mass shooting in Saddlers Village St. Kitts last week Friday May 20 2016.

Dead are Wallis Phillip and Keron Michael both from Saddlers. Reports are that four other persons were injured during the vicious gun attack. Out of the 4 injured two of them are said to be in critical condition fighting for their lives at the JN France General Hospital. The incident happened while a group of young men were ‘liming’ at a bar when heavily armed gunmen approached and opened fire with bullets striking 6 of them.

Earlier that same morning on Friday May 20, 2016, Money Gram on St. Kitts was robbed at gunpoint by unknown heavily armed masked gunmen dressed in business suits. The bandits aimed their illegal unlicensed guns toward the employees and demanded money. Threats were made that uncooperative behaviour would result in the killing of employees. The terrified employees willingly handed over the money to the armed gunmen. The bandits made a clean get way in a vehicle with a large sum of money.

Just one week before this tragedy, the owners of the Chinese Supermarket situated at New Road St. Kitts were shaken to their core when on Saturday May 14 2016 they were robbed by masked gunmen in excess of $10,000.00 in cash. The incident reportedly took place during closing hours. The armed bandits threatened to kill the owners if they refused to cooperate. The robbers made good on their escape in a getaway vehicle.

Just last weekend it was reported that the home of the Attorney General was invaded luckily for him while he was away in Taiwan enjoying a break from our most recent crime wave.

With the main industry in St. Kitts and Nevis being tourism, it is fair to ask how much more of this type of lawlessness can the county take before it is destabilized?  The tourism industry is a fickle one and when middle to upper class tourists begin to learn from simple internet searches how easy it is to be robbed and murdered in St. Kitts and Nevis will they still want to come here?

Tourism is seasonal and we therefore depend on the various annual festivals such as Music Festival and Culturama in an effort to try and sustain economic buoyancy in St. Kitts and Nevis and we try to attract regional visitors but how many people will be attracted to a place where gun-play, high-day armed robbery and murder has become the norm?

When one considers the apparent politicizing of the police force, together with the unceremonious ouster of the former Police Commissioner, the dismissal of the former Governor General and former Director of Public Prosecutions, one has to wonder about the message these actions of the Concerned Citizens Movement/Team Unity Government (CCM/TUG) sent to the gun carrying criminals in both islands. The boldness of the most recent crimes seems to indicate that criminals believe that they- not the police- are now in charge of St. Kitts and Nevis.

So as we draw closer to our annual Music Festival and Culturama events we must keep in mind that even if not directly affiliated with entertainment attractions, crime and violence almost always serves as a deterrent to the tourism and entertainment product. People are simply afraid to go out for fear of gunfire erupting in the midst of the crowd. Daring daylight armed robberies are now recurring, together with brazen execution style, gangland type murders such as that what is now being described as the mass shooting at Saddlers.

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