STATEMENT BY PREMIER AND MINISTER OF FINANCE
HONOURABLE DR. NATALIO D. WHEATLEY
NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL’S UPDATE ON CRIME
Your Excellency the Governor, Mr. John J Rankin CMG, esteemed Commissioner of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, Mark Collins; members of the media, ladies and gentlemen, Good morning!
Firstly, let me apologise for the absence of the Minister for Communications and Works, who is on duty travel. I also wish to thank the Governor and Police Commissioner for making themselves available to update the public on our plans to tackle crime. I was very keen on coming to the public, because I recognise that the public needs to hear from those responsible for their safety and security, as the incidence of violent crime in our community has the potential to destroy our peace, our economy, our future and our very lives.
While the Virgin Islands is one of the safest places in the world, persons are rightly concerned when they see brazen acts of violence, like the recent ordeal at the Pier Park or when our family and friends are murdered in cold blood, some in broad daylight, like the young men in my community, which have happened far too much for any of our liking.
Crime is a worldwide phenomenon, and every society must be prepared and equipped to confront it. Tackling crime will take the cooperation of every segment of our society. We all have a role to play.
I take my role extremely seriously as a member of the National Security Council, and I take this opportunity to thank the men and women who risk their lives every day to keep us safe. Not only the Members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, but also the Customs Department and Immigration, who assist in the protection of our borders. They all deserve our collective commendation.
I also have a responsibility as Minister of Finance to provide funding for our law enforcement agencies, and I am proud of the support we have provided over the years.
As Premier, we recognise that prevention is better than the cure, so it is important that we invest in people to ensure they have a strong foundation, resistant to the temptation of crime. This is why our investments in sports and youth activities are important. This is why our work to reduce unemployment through RATED and other means, is so important. This is why our work in social development in supporting families and strengthening the social fabric of our society is so important.
All of these will be a part of the focus of the anti-violence strategy. I want to emphasise that we all have a part to play. I applaud those who will be holding the antiviolence march in our Territory next month. Let’s take a stand in our families, in our communities, in this Territory.
As we go into festival season, we ask everyone to remain diligent, as we want a crime-free season.
I thank you.