Over the past few weeks, gun violence and volleys of gunshots have rung out in Vieux Fort, creating fear for users of the town both in broad daylight and under cover of darkness.
This unfortunate situation has negatively impacted the business community in Vieux Fort as many persons who frequent the town and patronise businesses have stayed away during this time.
Vieux Fort has turned into a ghost town, especially on evenings.
Sadly, this is happening just when the economy and business community had begun a slow restart after the two-year plus crippling COVID-19 pandemic.
It is also occurring just when the inflation as a result of the ongoing war in Ukraine started taking effect, causing spikes in the cost of commodities, especially fuel.
The alleged inner community rivalry has created a negative turnaround and a compounding of the existing situation.
This situation has dramatically affected the fishing sector.
Fishers, to a great extent, begin their operations early. But, unfortunately, the fishing port, with its dilapidated infrastructure, lack of fencing, and little to no user controls, has made it even more vulnerable and a seemingly reliable entry and exit point for criminal elements.
In fact, just earlier this month, the fishing port was the site of an early morning volley of gunshots.
This situation has caused many fishers to stay away from fishing completely or begin their day much later and end earlier.
Of course, this is having a crippling effect on the fishing sector, evident in the sales decline at the cooperative.
The sector will celebrate Fishermen’s Feast only a few days from now.
But, in light of the current ‘unsafe’ situation, despite efforts by the Vieux Fort South Constituency Council and the Goodwill Fishermen’s Co-operative, many of the activities such as the traditional Weiss and domino competitions were called off.
It is past due that the guns are put down, that the town becomes a place where users are free to conduct business or partake in social activities.
We call on the authorities to take the bull by the horns and deal with the problem’s root cause collaboratively.
As a Southerner, this issue is of great concern to me.
Headline photo: A stray bullet this month pierces a window and enters a private home in Vieux Fort. No one was injured.
Note: Kaygianna Toussaint Charlery is a government Senator and the Operations Manager of the Goodwill Fishermen’s Co-operative. The views expressed are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of St Lucia Times.