Dr. Ernest Hilaire, Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture and Information Minister, says the promotors of the just-ended Onyx concert will have to account for an open-carry firearm on stage.
He told reporters on the sidelines of a Cabinet meeting on Monday that the police took a position that they were not approving the concert.
The event became controversial after a man with a gun appeared on stage.
Images of the gun-toting man, identified by organisers as one of their contracted security guards from the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF), have been circulating on social media.
Organisers have since apologised and said the man decided to have an open-carry weapon on stage.
Hilaire told reporters the gun was not an ordinary firearm and said he had no information regarding whether the weapon had been authorised.
But he said he knew what he saw on stage and the photos people overseas saw and sent back to Saint Lucia.
“We need to ask some serious questions. As far as I knew, the police took a position that they were not approving the show because the individual in question is someone who has been involved in singing, and promoting music that glorifies crime and gun violence. And I know because I was in discussion with the police force,” the Castries South MP stated.
“The police were very clear that they were not going to approve it on the grounds of national security and events security,’ he explained.
According to Hilaire, the police saw the event as a threat to the fight against gang crime and as a threat to the event itself because they were not satisfied that security was fully in place.
“And that was four thirty on Friday,” the Deputy Prime Minister recalled.
He told reporters that after that decision, somebody approved the event.
“We need to know who is that somebody and under what circumstances they approved it,” the Minister asserted.
“What assurances were given to that individual to make that decision?” Hilaire told reporters.
He also asked if someone overturned the decision, whether it was because of being misled.
Hilaire declared that the police have established that once someone promotes or signs songs glorifying violence, they will not be allowed to perform in Saint Lucia.
In addition, he questioned who authorised the individual with the firearm to be on stage and whether the promotor informed the police.
According to Hilaire, Saint Lucia’s creative space cannot have individuals with open-carry firearms on stage.
He disclosed that Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre, as Minister of National Security, would decide to find out what happened.
Hilaire said if a promotor misled the police, there would be a need for a serious discussion regarding that promoter’s role within Saint Lucia’s creative space.
“To say to me as the promotors did, it was incident free – so what is incident free? You mean there was no shoot-out, and therefore, it was a success?” Hilaire told reporters.
And he declared that someone on stage with an open-carry firearm constitutes an incident.
“It was pointed at the crowd. What if people had rushed the stage what would have happened? Would you have shot the crowd?”
“Why was it necessary for an open-carry firearm on stage?” Hilaire said.
He said somebody needs to account for that.
“The promotors who were involved in this will have to account,” Hilaire declared.
The event on Saturday at the Daren Sammy Cricket Grounds in Beausejour, Gros Islet, featured artistes including Jamaican Dance Hall performer Skillibeng, alongside Saint Lucia’s leading stars and Dennery Segment artistes like Ezra De Fun Machine, Hollywood HP, Cooyah Fyah and Sean.
Headline photo from social media.