Photo: President of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Nevis Ernie France

By: Precious Mills

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts– Following the recent shooting death of Nevisian businessman Joseph Benjamin, the President of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce on Nevis, Ernie France, is calling on the federal government to move fast on plans to protect citizens and business communities.

Speaking on WINNFM last week, he stated: “Yet again, the Nevisian community and more specifically the business community has been thrust into a state of mourning on learning of the passing of Mr. Benjamin. The tragic event has left many persons shocked and dismayed and as a private sector body the Chamber is particularly troubled that this type of criminal activity where businessmen are targeted, shot and killed.”

He added: “It is very serious and it is very disconcerting and we are once again calling on the local and federal government to move expeditiously, even more expeditiously and with greater haste to ensure the execution of the plans that we have heard of to ensure that the citizens and the business communities of this country are protected from this type of criminal activity.”

He informed that media house that the issue of personal security is now being seriously considered.

France also disclosed that the Chamber has encouraged its members to do all in their power to tighten security and that the government has responded with duty free concessions for security apparatus.

Joseph, 63, the owner of Philisha’s Guest House Joseph succumbed to gunshot injuries on Monday 21st August, on after he was attacked on Saturday 19th August outside his home at Pinney’s Road in Nevis.

Notably, the deceased’s business place is located in the Pinney’s community.

France described the slain businessman as hard working.

“Mr. Joseph is a well-known businessman here in the community in Nevis and probably more well known for his involvement with a quarry business which he operated for years in the Potworks area but in more recent times he operated and owned as I understand it, Philisha’s Guest House, in the Pinney’s area here in Nevis. A very hard working gentleman and someone who goes about his business, works hard and operates his business. I have never known him to be involved in anything that is questionable and so it’s really very disconcerting to learn of his passing.”

Joseph’s shooting death has taken the Federation’s homicide count for 2017 to 18 with 11 on St.Kitts and 7 on Nevis.

According to police, investigators from the Violent Crimes Unit responded to the incident around 8.00pm last Saturday on Pinney’s Road and that initial investigations revealed the victim was shot by an unknown assailant upon exiting his car on arrival at his residence.

Reportedly, Joseph was transported to the Alexandria Hospital by a family member.

Police are encouraging anyone who may have information with regard to this incident to share such details.

Individuals are advised that information can be passed to Violent Crime Unit in Nevis at 469-5269, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-8477(TIPS) or by using the SKN Crime Reporter App on your Smartphone.