St. Kitts and Nevis Police say team of representatives from a number of agencies in Barbados visited the Federation last week to examine the success of the current Police initiative to curb gang violence.
The visit from the regional agencies comes despite many questions in relation to accountability with the initiative.
The representatives came from the offices of the United States Embassy and the British National Crime Agency (NCA) – which are responsible for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean – and the Royal Barbados Police Force.
Senior Manager with the British National Crime Agency, John Bowman, explained that he has been amazed with the results the Police are having in St. Kitts and Nevis. He was first updated about the initiative by the High Command.
The initiative has been dogged with accusations of unjustified payments to gang members, the process through which thirty guns and sorted ammunition were confiscated by authorities, earlier this month.
Questions on whether ballistics tests will be done on the weapons to determine whether any of them were used in the commission of a crime and if there has been a period of amnesty for “gang members” have been downplayed by authorities.
“Since February, gangs in the Federation have been involved in a peace initiative which has had several significant outcomes. The Police had been engaging gang members during their operations, then some of the members indicated to the Police that they wanted to put an end to the violence that was taking place among them. The Police then sought the assistance of the Ministry of National Security and an Interim Engagement Team comprising members of different sectors of society was put in place to work with the members to provide various levels of support to help them get involved in alternative lifestyles. As a result, for the period March 01 to August 26, there has been a marked decline in the number of homicides and non-fatal shootings. The members also recently handed over thirty (30) firearms as a sign of their commitment to the peace effort. The firearms are now in Police custody,” a Police release has stated.