St. Kitts and Nevis’ parliament increases penalties for Offences Against the Person

The laws in St. Kitts and Nevis that address offences against the person were strengthened with the introduction of stiffer penalties for persons shooting with intent to murder, non-shooting attempted murder, and shooting with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew, successfully moved the Offences Against the Person (Amendment) Bill, 2024, through the National Assembly of St. Kitts and Nevis on Thursday, May 09, 2024. 

He indicated that the penalty for shooting with intent to murder moves from 10 years imprisonment to a maximum life in prison sentence and a fine of EC$500,000.00. 

A maximum life sentence also now applies to non-shooting attempted murder, up from 10 years in prison, while shooting with intent to cause grievous bodily harm increases from 20 years to a maximum imprisonment of 40 years.

Deputy Prime Minister and Member of Parliament (MP) for St. Christopher One, the Honourable Dr. Geoffrey Hanley, fully endorsed the amendments to the Act, noting that while it was short, it was timely.

“We are tightening up [our legislation] as we fight crime,” Dr. Hanley expressed. “Not only are we focussing just on gun-related murder, but you would recognise that the Bill … speaks to attempts to murder by drowning, suffocating, poisoning, et cetera.”

MP Hanley quoted Deuteronomy 5:17 from the Bible which commands, “Thou shalt not kill.” He strongly discouraged persons considering to take another life that there is now a harsher “price that you must pay”.

The National Assembly also debated and passed the Firearms (Amendment) Bill, 2024, which increased the maximum sentences for the importation, use and possession of firearms.

“What we are discussing here today is a clear indication that enough is enough, and if you choose to go down that road, you must be expected to pay the penalties and bear the consequences of the action that you choose,” said Dr. Hanley.

He urged members of his community, and the wider populace in St. Kitts and Nevis, to continue living in peace as the government works to clean up the streets. 

The deputy prime minister also encouraged all residents to support the security forces in the fight against crime. (SKNIS)


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