Guns too easy to access, laments St Kitts-Nevis Police Commissioner
BASSETERRE – Police Commissioner Ian Queeley is concerned by the ease with which illegal guns are readily available in St Kitts-Nevis despite not being manufactured in the Caribbean.
Speaking on increased gun violence in the twin-island federation, the top cop said unnamed people were ensuring that illegal arms entered the country and then putting them in the hands of criminals.
“We don’t manufacture guns in this region, yet we’re having a lot of guns here; and it’s the ease and access to those firearms that is really creating the issue,” Queeley said.
“We are finding a lot of guns, and so while some persons criticise…we have so far for the year removed 23 or 24 guns from the streets . . . . But there’s still a lot, and the thing that bothers me as an individual and as leader of the police force is that there are persons within the society who actually make these guns accessible to these youngsters.”
St Kitts-Nevis has recorded 16 murders so far this year, with 13 of them being gun-related. The latest murder occurred last week Tuesday at the J.N. France Hospital when 31-year-old Darnell Govia was shot within sight of staff and people at the facility. One person has since been arrested and charged by the police.
“If you want to be frank, these youngsters cannot on their own afford to be purchasing and bringing in these guns here; so there are players.
“That is where our intelligence is kicking in and that’s why not only would we continue to do our targeted operations, we have to build out our intelligence capability that will capture all of these areas.
“We also are aware that there are persons in the society who are aware of where these guns are, including parents of their own children,” Queeley added.
He said the police are involved in outreach initiatives in both the high schools and primary schools to help steer the youth away from antisocial behaviour and gang involvement. (CMC)