On Monday, Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Philip J. Pierre signed a document designating Vieux Fort South, the location of a recent spike in deadly gun violence, an escalated crime zone.
“This morning, I signed the statutory instrument which will cause Vieux Fort South to be an escalated crime area, and that will be till May 16th,” Pierre told reporters on the sidelines of a Cabinet meeting.
He explained that the escalated crime zone designation could apply to another part of the country because of the law’s flexibility.
The measure provides the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) with expanded powers to respond to areas where crime has escalated.
Pierre, who visited Vieux Fort on Friday to reassure residents and business people in the aftermath of the town’s deadly gun violence, told reporters that the people of the Southern community are ‘very hopeful’ that the authorities will bring the situation under control.
And he disclosed that Regional Security System (RSS) officers who are here began operations on Sunday night and will be here for three weeks.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister expressed condolences to the relatives of the two men who succumbed on Sunday night after sustaining gunshot injuries at Bananes.
He noted that the matter is under investigation.
At the same time, the Castries East MP declared that the battle against crime was a work in progress that continues.
He revealed that the police were getting more resources, including three new vehicles, last weekend.
“They also received body armour – they got 150 vests. They are going to be getting some more vehicles. The scanners are coming. I understand they will be here next week. We also have some drones that will be coming next week,” Pierre told reporters.
“My job is to make available the resources within the abilities of the government,” he stated.
However, Pierre said operational control was in the hands of the police.
In addition, he declared the government’s absolute zero tolerance for lawlessness.
Headline photo: Stock image of police in Vieux Fort