This week, Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre praised the police response to violent crime, especially recently, when he said when parts of the country appeared under siege by criminals.
Deadly gun violence in Vieux Fort South prompted the government to declare it an escalated crime zone under new legislation granting extended powers to the police.
And the government invited Regional Security System (RSS) troops to assist local police in dealing with the violent crime spike.
Pierre, responsible for National Security, said he was satisfied with the police response.
“There was a degree of unity, there was a show of commitment when leave was postponed and all the men and women in the police force showed the reason why we could not allow our country to be run down by criminals,” the Castries East MP noted.
He spoke at a ceremony to hand over vehicles to the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF).
Pierre reiterated a promise to give the police all the resources Saint Lucia could afford.
And he recalled announcing in parliament that the government would spend $117 million next year on the police and other security agencies.
Pierre said the government had obtained a truck and motorcycles for the police, and another vehicle would be available during the weekend.
“So, in terms of mobility, I want no excuses,” he told this week’s ceremony.
Regarding technological support, Pierre disclosed that the police should get drones next month, and scanning equipment would be at the ports of entry.
In addition, the Prime Minister said the RSLPF would induct sixteen recruits in July, who would be ready for police work after their six-month training.
He also said the Major Crimes Unit would be enhanced, and he would request another cohort of officers from the RSS for at least another three weeks.
But Pierre reiterated that he would not get involved in police operations.
He said his job was to determine the resources the police need and speak on policy.
In addition, Pierre revealed that other things are in the works.
“We want to look at the Police Act. We want to look at compensation for policemen who haven’t reached what is called the benchmark qualifications. So we are going to make a concerted effort to bring the police force up to scratch,” he declared.
However, Pierre said it would be up to the police to commit themselves so criminals would not overrun the country.
“We would not allow Saint Lucia to be overrun by criminals of whatever form or shape,” he asserted.