Friday, January 27, 2012

Real life

Now that we are back in the States we can discuss these things openly. Be warned- this is long so you may want to opt out of this post.

The reality is, there are many people and things that we miss about St. Kitts, but the following sources of constant anxiety will not be missed. We feel blessed though, to have been protected from any random violence during our 4 years in St. Kitts, and can relate to you in person someday a few events that took place where we were led by the spirit to leave or drive a different route which otherwise would have placed us directly in some of the following places at the time a crime took place.

FYI- St. Kitts has a population of about 36,000 people.

From this article titled "Year in Review – Homicides."

    Five murders reportedly solved

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – LAST year was not a good one for the twin-island Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. It was a year in which many people had lost their loved ones; a year in which the nation saw the continued decimation of its youth; and a year in which, for the first time in its history, the Federation had recorded 34 homicides, most of which remain unsolved.

    The first homicide for the year was that of Devon Morton of Upper Monkey Hill, St. Peters, who died at the JNF Hospital 15 days after he was shot. It was reported that on the night of Monday, January 10, while the 28-year-old was inside a club on Lower Cunningham Street, near to Fort Thomas Road in Mc Knight, two masked gunmen approached and opened fire, hitting him in the chest, abdomen, thigh and hand and Ashley Allers in the shoulder. Allers was said to be the proprietor of the club.

    Shortly after 3:00 a.m. on March 5 the lifeless body of Sean ‘Tegroman’ Brazier (28) of Pitcairn Street, Newtown was discovered bearing multiple gunshot wounds. The District Medical Officer was summoned and he pronounced him dead on the scene, making it the second homicide for the year.

    Twenty-nine-year-old Quincy Liburd of Gingerland, Nevis, who was residing at Lime Kiln Project, was the third shooting-death victim for the year. He was killed at approximately 10:10 p.m. in Conaree Village on March 13.

    April can be classified as one of the most horrific months in the year, for among the five homicides committed in this month, four young people were killed within a matter of six days.

    The first of the five sent shockwaves through the Federation when on April 3, shortly after 3:00 a.m., the partly nude body of 15-year-old Unique Browne was discovered lying on the eastern side of the building that houses Eustace Hobson & Associates in the C.A. Paul Southwell Industrial Site area.

    Some 18 hours after, while 26-year-old Bijorn ‘Bush’ Richardson of Wellington Road, an employee of the Parks and Beaches Unit, was weeding grass within Dorset Park, a masked gunman entered from the northern gate and shot him multiple times to the body. He was pronounced dead at the scene by District Medical Officer Dr. Reginald O’Loughlin.

    Shortly after 9:00 p.m. on April 6, the Federation recorded its sixth homicide victim for the year. Just as it was with Unique Browne, the nation was aghast at the shooting-death of Laustin ‘Jamie’ Williams, son of the then Commissioner of Police, Austin Williams and Laura Williams. The 27-year-old popular disc jockey was shot multiple times to the body while in an abandoned yard in Buckley’s Estate. He was pronounced dead by the District Medical Officer who was summoned to the scene.

    Just two days after William’s death, Gary Smithen of Brownhill, Nevis was shot at Pennyless Tyres & Hoses, situated on Pump Road, Stoney Grove, where he was employed. It was reported that while Smithen was within the establishment, a masked man entered and shot him a couple of times. He was rushed to the Alexandra Hospital and died while undergoing emergency treatment.

    Seventeen days after that incident, the body of Shervin Williams (30) of Godwin Estate, a former resident of Middle Island, was discovered lying on a dirt road in the vicinity of Godwin Ghaut Bridge with what appeared to be gunshot injuries to his neck and head. He too was pronounced dead at the scene by the District medical Officer.

    On Monday, May 16 at about 8:20 p.m., Kurvin ‘Yellow Man’ Hanley was found by a family member lying face down in his West Farm home with severe burns to both of his legs. Two days later, he underwent emergency surgery but succumbed to his injuries in the Intensive Care Unit at the JNF General Hospital at about 9:07 p.m. on May 21.

    Monday, May 23 saw a double homicide, making the count 11 for the year. Dead were 17-year-old Ikimba Bradley of Keys Village and Ken White (18) of Lodge Village following a shooting incident in Lodge Village. According to reports, the incident occurred at about 7:30 p.m. Bradley was shot multiple times to the body, including the head, and died in the bathroom; while White, who was also shot multiple times, was transported to the JNF General Hospital where he died shortly after arrival.

    Kevin ‘Boopie’ Hazel (17) was gunned down at approximately 8:15 p.m. in a street near to his home in Pine Garden Shadwell. It was reported that shortly after playing a game of basketball on the street, Hazel was hanging out with a group of young men when two masked gunmen suddenly appeared from behind a building and started shooting at them. His lifeless body was found lying face down on the road with multiple gunshot wounds to his back. He was the 12th homicide victim for the year.

    The body of 25-year-old Kervin Hanley of West Farm was on the afternoon of June 13 discovered lying on a track between the canefields north of Pond’s Estate with what appeared to be gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the district medical Officer.
    The 14th homicide victim was Remo ‘Pimplin’ Caines (24) of Government Road, Charlestown, Nevis. An individual who was jogging in the MountPelier area discovered his body next to a clump of bushes with a gunshot wound to the head on June 23.

    Two days later, the 15th homicide was recorded in the death of 18-year-old Shaquille Greene of Bird Rock, following a drive-by shooting in the vicinity of the Craft House on the Bay Road in St. Kitts.

    Alexter Eloni Jeffers (23) of Lower Fiennes Avenue followed him on June 27.

    SKNVibes learned that at approximately 10:00 p.m., while Jeffers was among a group of young men outside of Y’s Shop on Fiennes Avenue, a number of men who had exited a jeep on the Bay Road and made their way up Fiennes Avenue stalked and opened fire on them. Jeffers’ body was found lying in an alley north of Y’s Shop.

    July can also be classified as another horrific month in the year. This month had seen five shooting-deaths over an 18-day period; four of which occurred within six days.

    The first for this month and 17th for the year was that of former Basseterre High School teacher and horticulturist Brian ‘DJ Ras Benjie’ Farrell of Shadwell Estate. On July 4, shortly after he exited his vehicle and was about to enter his garden in Edwards Lane, New Ponds Site, a masked gunman emerged from a nearby yard that was clustered with tall grasses and small trees and started firing a number of shots at him. According to an eyewitness account, Farrell tried to run away from his attacker but was shot “twice in the bum and once in the back”. He was taken to the JNF General Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries while undergoing emergency medical treatment.

    Three days after Farrell’s death, 25-year-old Ricardo ‘Fila’ Pemberton of Old Road was shot to death in Wingfield Road, Old Road. And less than 12 hours after, Wendell ‘Dog’ Wilkinson (22) of Cardin Avenue was shot in the vicinity of a shop in Union Street and succumbed to his injuries while undergoing emergency medical treatment at the JNF General Hospital.

    On July 9, 19-year-old Jamone Hanley was gunned down a short distance from his West Farm home at approximately 11:55 p.m. On arrival at the scene, SKNVibes observed his lifeless body lying below the stairway of an apartment building known as ‘The Long House’ with three gunshot wounds to his back, one to his buttocks and one to his neck.

    And on July 21, shortly after 3:00 a.m., Michael ‘MK’ Phillip of Shadwell Project was killed by unknown gunmen. According to reports, Phillip, who was said to be about 19 years old, was asleep in his home when gunmen kicked down the front door, dragged him outside and shot him multiple times to the body. His death had taken the total homicides for the year to 21.

    August was the most horrific month in the year. This month had realised six homicides and five of them occurred over a six-day period.

    Shortly before 5:00 a.m. on August 1, a fight, which broke out among a group of young men in the Bull Pen Bar (an entertainment spot within the Cultural Village in Nevis) and continued outside in the Cultural Village, resulted in the death of Jermaine ‘Chalice’ Freeman (26) of Rawlins Village who was shot multiple times to the body, including his head.

    David ‘Dibaloo’ Thomas (27) was the 23rd victim. He was shot multiple times to the body at about 1:30 a.m. on August 14 near to his Buckley’s Estate home that he shared with his grandfather.

    Less than 20 hours after Thomas’ death, Karando ‘Kasper’ Otto (29) of Warner Street, Lower Cayon was killed by an unidentified individual in the vicinity of Gumbs Used Parts & Tire Shop while on his way home from a football match at the Cayon Playfield.

    The body of 31-year-old Everad ‘Nitty’ Hewlett was discovered on the night of August 15 with a bullet wound to the head in his Mad House Alley residence in Newtown. His death had taken the total homicides committed for that period to 25.

    Leon ‘Machine’ Thompson (34) of Buckley’s Estate was the next victim. He was killed at about 10:30 p.m. on August 17 when a lone gunman shot him while he was within the Ground Zero Bar in Buckley’s Estate.

    And the 27th homicide, which matched the figure of those recorded in 2009, was that of Lincoln Liburd of Lime Kiln Housing Project who was shot multiple times while in his bed on the morning of August 20.

    Although only one person had died during this month, September had been written in the annals of the Federation as the month in which the country had recorded the most homicides (28) in any given year.

    That 28th victim was 21-year-old Adjel Jeffers who was shot multiple times by a gunman or gunmen while in the vicinity of his Camps Village home in Nevis sometime after 1:00 a.m. on September 23.

    That was the first homicide to have occurred since the Baton of Command of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force changed hands from Retired Commissioner Austin Williams to Commissioner Celvin ‘CG’ Walwyn.

    Six more homicides were recorded over the next three months; four in October and two in December.

    The first one was that of Denzil ‘Dino’ Flemming who was said to be in his late 20s. He was originally from Ponds Pasture in St. Kitts but was residing in Hardtimes, Gingerland in Nevis at the time of his death. According to reports, shortly after unplaiting his hair at a bar in Gingerland sometime after 8:00 p.m. on August 6, Flemming left in his car for his home. However, after he exited the vehicle and was approaching the gate to his residence, a gunman fired a number of shots, hitting him multiple times to the body.

    Seven days later, Vincent Williams (17) of Herbert Street, Newtown was shot multiple times to the body including his lower back and right arm. This incident occurred at about 6:35 p.m. while he was among a group of young men riding a bicycle along Mad House Alley in Newtown.

    Less than 12 hours after, Trafalgar Village was in an uproar with the news of the death of Noel ‘Zambo’ Heath of Cardin Avenue, commonly referred to as the ‘Father of the Village’. He was reportedly shot multiple times to the body outside his home while preparing to go to his farm shortly before 5:00 a.m.

    On October 20, the motionless body of Ashton ‘Tuba’ Williams of Pitcairn Street, Newtown was seen sprawled on the sidewalk in front of his relative’s business entity, Williams Auto Rental, at the junction of Pitcairn Street and Mad House Alley. Reportedly, he was killed by a number of gunmen between 11:30 and 11:35 a.m.

    No homicides were recorded for November, but December had seen two which took the total for the year to a record-breaking 34.

    The 33rd homicide occurred on Christmas Eve with the stabbing-death of 17-year-old Zamique Heyliger, an employee of RAMS Supermarket, who hailed from Newtown, St. Kitts but had gone to live in Stoney Grove, Nevis. According to police reports, the incident occurred at approximately 11:25 p.m. on the Island Main Road in the vicinity of Dr. Walwyn’s Plaza.

    And on December 30, the body of a 60-year-old American citizen, Matthew Murphy, was discovered within a canefield in St. Paul’s Village with what police claimed to be apparent stab wounds in his torso.

    Murphy was employed at the Rawlins Plantation Inn as a handyman and, according to the police, he had died between December 28-30.

    Indeed 2011 had been a very eventful year that no national or resident of the twin-island Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis would like to see repeated with regards to homicides.

    However, information reaching SKNVibes states that a number of persons were charged with the murder of five of the 34 victims.

    Charged with the murder of Kelvin ‘Boopie’ Hazel were 19-year-old Kai Cabey and a juvenile, who both reside at Fort Thomas Road, Basseterre; while 19-year-old Raphael Wallace of New Castle, Dustin Lapsey (27) of Bath Village and Asim Parris (31) of Stoney Grove were charged on warrants in the first instance for the murder of Gary Smithen.

    Jointly charged with the murder of Laustin Jamie ‘Big Ship’ Williams of Bay View Gardens were 19-year-old Jahari ‘Baddie’ Bart and Kelroy ‘C-Face’ Hazel (22), both of St. Johnson Village; while 25-year-old Kevis ‘Yellow’ Riley of George Street, Newtown was charged with the murder of Bijorn ‘Bush’ Richardson of Wellington Road.

    And the General Manager and owner of Rawlins Plantation Inn, Kevin Horstwood was charged with the murder of Matthew Murphy. The remainder are still under investigation.

To this article titled "On the Crime Scene - Year in Review."

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – EACH year the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis, much like many other countries the world over, experiences its fair share of criminal activity which sometimes results in death, injury, expense, heartache, psychological and or emotional trauma, and 2011 was no exception.

    While some acts of criminality - though frowned upon and condemned - are expected, there are those which cause a chill to run through one’s body and which leave many to wonder, “How can anyone do such a thing?” or “Did that really happen?”

    Take for example, the January 22 shooting of a bus driver who was doing some shopping in a Sandy Point supermarket.

    It was minutes to 9:00 that evening when Dollar Stretcher Supermarket, the supermarket in which Vincent ‘Saga’ Jarvis was shopping, was entered by two armed, masked individuals who demanded that everyone hit the deck.

    Jarvis, who failed to comply with the bandits’ demand, was reportedly shot in the face at close range after which the establishment was robbed of a large sum of money.

    The 61-year-old wounded man was transported to the Joseph N. France General Hospital where he was treated.

    The public was more than surprised and outraged when a 16-year-old had accused members of the St. Kitts Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF) of raping her. The officers were arrested on February 24 for allegedly committing the February 19 offence.

    Reports suggest that the teenager was standing on the road which leads to Shadwell Estate sometime after 12:30 a.m. when a SKNDF vehicle pulled up next to her and a soldier ordered her to enter. She reportedly refused and was allegedly forced into the vehicle, taken to the Fort Thomas Hotel and allegedly raped by two members of the SKNDF.

    Two officers were subsequently charged with the offence and the SKNDF had indicated that it was making investigations into the allegations.

    A look at the article titled “Peacemaker loses hand in Spanish brawl” reminds of an incident where a native of Santo Domingo lost a part of his hand while he tried to promote an atmosphere of peace between two individuals.

    The incident occurred on February 27 at Mi Sitio Spanish Bar, Pond Road, Newtown. Jesus Skelton was reportedly having a drink with someone in the bar when a fight broke out between two individuals. He is reported to have made an attempt to part the fight and one of the individuals “chopped off his left wrist with a machete”.

    Skelton underwent surgery and one individual was taken into police custody to assist with the investigations and other persons of interest were being sought by the authorities.

    Thirty-four homicides were recorded during 2011 and all were and continue to be of great concern to the people of St. Christopher and Nevis. However, on April 3, when the lifeless body of a 15-year-old girl was found at the C. A. Paul Southwell Industrial Site, it more than caused a stir.

    The partially-nude body was that of Unique Browne of Wellington Road and she was found on the premises of Eustace Hobson & Associates. According to police sources, her body bore signs of violence and blood was found on her head and chest.

    She was pronounced dead on the scene and an autopsy revealed that she died as a result of traumatic head injury.

    “Our country should not be like this. We should not be living in fear in our own homes! What happened to my country?” were the words expressed by one individual having heard of the attack which was perpetrated against two women.

    The women were sharing a conversation while on an Atlantic View, Conaree veranda when two masked gun-toting men demanded money from them. In addition to being bound at the hands, the women were robbed of jewellery, cellular phones and cash and one sexually assaulted.

    The robbers made their escape in a vehicle which belonged to one of the woman and abandoned it along the West Basseterre By-pass Road in the Buckley’s area.

    And who can forget the kidnapping of a banker and his wife?

    Over the past couple of years, the incidences of kidnapping seemed to have increased and the most recent to have taken place (Oct. 27) was that of senior employee of the CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank Larry Vaughan and his wife Gilda Rawlins-Vaughan.

    A sum of money was demanded from the couple and the husband was released to fetch a ransom from the bank, which was to be returned to the perpetrators before his wife could have been released.

    Acting on intelligence, the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force (RSCNPF) extracted an unharmed Rawlins-Vaughan from an unoccupied house at East Park Range at about 5:00 a.m. on October 28 and a number of individuals were taken into custody.

    Approximately four individuals were arrested and charged with the offence.

    November 10 was the day this media house published an article indicating that a national footballer was arrested and charged after allegedly committing a sexual offence.

    The young man was arrested on November 6 and subsequently charged with two counts of rape and two counts of unlawful knowledge which were said to have been committed in June and October 2011

    Similar charges were preferred against a member of the RSCNPF who is accused of sexually assaulting a minor while she was in police custody with her brother. That alleged incident occurred on October 30 at the Cayon Police Station.

    Co-owner of Bobsy’s Restaurant, Lynne Hawley was at her establishment at about 10:35 p.m. when three masked, armed individuals entered and robbed the establishment. She was able to escape from them by running into a room and locking the door behind her. And although the bandits fired a number of shots into the door, she still escaped the ordeal unharmed.

    By all accounts, the Manager of TDC’s Maintenance Department, Curtis James, was simply driving to work on the morning of December 10. But something strange happened.

    While driving along a Bird Rock road, a vehicle that was in front of his abruptly stopped and blocked his path. The driver of that vehicle reportedly disembarked, approached James’ and asked why he was following him.

    The man reportedly drew a firearm and James, recognising the danger, drove around the vehicle that blocked his path. But during the process, the individual fired upon James’ vehicle which resulted in one of the bullets grazing his temple.

    These are but a few of the jaw-dropping incidences that occurred within the Federation during 2011, and the RSCNPF have made inroads with their investigations into some of them.

This study sums up some of the statistics about crime in St. Kitts-

"Crime, especially violent crime, remains a major concern for the eastern Caribbean region not only because of its effect on the inhabitants but also because of its effect on tourism. Similar to most eastern Caribbean states, the murder rate in St Kitts and Nevis has been on a steady rise during the past few years. This rise is primarily due to gang violence associated with the drug trade. At the moment, St. Kitts and Nevis has one of the highest murder rates per head in the world (2nd only to Jamaica in the Caribbean)."


abby said...

Oh Beth, this post gives me the shivers because it was such a tangible feeling on the island. I never felt safe, which was a bummer because there are so many cool things to see and do. I feel so sad for all the Kittitians that have to deal with it.

Matt said...

I'm glad you're back in the States!

Katie said...

wow. So glad you were all watched over during your time their and have returned safely to the United States. Sorry we won't be seeing you all next weekend for Grandmas Birthday.

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Janene said...

Yikes beth! We're so glad you're back. I'd love to sit and hear all your stories sometime... :)

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