Violent crime and delinquency in general have increased substantially in St. Kitts in the past 5 years. The murder rate which not too long ago was 1 per year has reached 1 per month. Gun crimes have risen alarmingly. Gangs have become fashionable for increasing numbers of young men. If this situation remains unchecked St. Kitts will in short order face a major crisis which will inevitably damage our quality of life, our growing tourism industry and our economy.
At risk are the impressive strides made by our country in economic and social development which have placed us at the top among Caribbean Countries of the United Nations Index on Human Development. This generation has much better access than their predecessors to education, healthcare and other social services. Despite the closure of the sugar industry the growth in tourism and the economy generally have provided increasing numbers of jobs in the construction industry and in tourism related businesses. Opportunities abound for enterprising young men to start their own service oriented businesses.
Despite these impressive developments we face a generation of misguided and violent young men with the potential to reverse all the gains made. We are at the cross roads. A strong counter-thrust is required. The reasons for these unfortunate trends are well known. The proliferation of guns, the negative influences of cable television, the reduced impact of the church, vastly improved communications, more leisure time, peer pressure, increased consumerism, political tribalism, a weak police force are all contributors. However, perhaps the greatest factor is a lack of proper parenting and positive influences on our children at an early age.