The OECS Flag
Basseterre St. Kitts – Nevis
April 13, 2010 (CUOPM)
The Chairman of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas has listed crime as the number one challenge facing the nine-member sub-regional grouping.
Dr. Douglas told CMC that he believes there is need for greater concerted effort in tackling the problem, especially firearm-related crime.
He said even though firearms were not manufactured in the OECS countries, they have been made to feel the effects of the growing illegal gun trade and has identified a need for greater collaboration with firearm-producing countries such as the United States to stem the current flow.
“We want to be able, for example, to have closer collaborative work done on firearm control and protection of firearms in our countries with the Americans, with the French, with the Dutch that are responsible for a number of these countries that are around us, which we believe to a large extent need to be within that overall framework plan if we are going to tackle the problem of gun-related violence in the region.”
In the case of his own country, St Kitts and Nevis, Douglas further identified a need for training of security personnel to respond to the upsurge in violent crime.
“We believe very strongly that our borders need to be more tightly protected and secured. We believe that we need to have the use of more canine units, working within the framework of our police forces to help us detect firearms at the points of entry and also generally when searches are being conducted by security forces.”
He stressed that the crime scourge was one that required effort not only at the national level but regionally and internationally as well.
The OECS groups the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.