Two men are currently in police custody after officers found 42 rounds of 9 mm ammunition and a bulletproof vest in their possession on Saturday.
The police arrested the men, who also possessed ski masks, on Martin Luther King Street in Vieux Fort in a continuing crackdown on criminal activity in the community, which recently experienced a deadly gun violence spike.
The spike led Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre, who is responsible for National Security, to invite Regional Security System (RSS) troops here to work alongside the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) in restoring calm to Vieux Fort.
And under recently passed legislation, Vieux Fort South has been designated an escalated crime zone, granting the police expanded powers to deal with criminal activity there.
In their joint operation on Saturday, the officers also arrested six people for various offences, including possessing M-16 assault rifle ammunition and illegal drugs.
And on Thursday, they arrested 22-year-old Delbert Daniel for possessing a 9 mm Luger and thirteen rounds of ammunition.
A court granted him $20,000 bail on the firearm and $30,000 on the ammunition charge with suitable surety.
But officers who spoke to St Lucia Times anonymously have expressed frustration with the judiciary.
They explained that politicians and the public are on the backs of law enforcement to respond decisively to the upsurge in crime.
But the officers told St Lucia Times that when police ranks leave their families and put their lives on the line to arrest criminal suspects, granting the suspects bail is tantamount to telling them to ‘go back to work’.
“We are not asking the judiciary, due to its independence, to work in tandem with the police, but there must be a semblance of concern for the greater good,” one concerned officer stated.
So far for the year, police have seized more than twenty-five illegal guns.
Headline stock photo: Police on patrol in Vieux Fort (Image courtesy Royal Saint Lucia Police Force).