The Saint Lucia government has expressed its determination to end gun violence, which has resulted in a spate of homicides.
The two latest fatal shootings occurred Monday night in separate incidents at Babonneau and Gros Islet.
On Tuesday, Acting Governor-General Cyril Errol Melchiades Charles articulated the government’s resolve to end gun violence.
The Governor-General delivered the Throne Speech On the Occasion of the Opening of the Third Session of the Twelfth Parliament of Saint Lucia.
He noted that the scourge of violent crime continues to affect Saint Lucia.
Charles said it was of no comfort that the crime surge has been affecting the entire Caribbean region.
“The seeds of violent crime have been incubating for years and have now grown into a despicable and shameful image of disregard for human life. Those shocking images of gun violence must end, and my government is determined to do so within the ambit of the law,” the Governor-General declared.
“The homicides taking place in the south of the island cannot be allowed to continue, and so my government is determined to end it, lest it begins to spread and threaten the social and economic life of our country,” he told parliament.
The Governor-General recalled that the government had already implemented legislative changes.
In this regard, he pointed to the Suppression of Escalated Crime (Police Powers) Act.
Under the act, which gives the Police expanded powers, Vieux Fort has become an escalated crime zone after witnessing a surge in deadly gun violence.
In addition to the legislative move, the government invited Regional Security System (RSS) officers here to assist in the anti-crime battle.
The Governor General told parliament that Saint Lucia would continue to engage the RSS services ‘for as long as it is necessary’.
He also disclosed that given the shared crime challenges within the region, the Saint Lucia government would be working with Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States to stop the smuggling of guns and drugs into and across the region.
Charles observed that government continues to provide the Police with all the required equipment for the effective execution of their duties and remains committed to providing the necessary assistance to the Police until the scourge of violent crime is under control.
At the same time, the Governor General explained that the Police would continue to work closely with and within communities by engaging meaningfully with community leaders and civic groups in the fight against crime.
And in support of a multi-disciplinary approach to crime fighting, a National Security Council will be re-established to coordinate crime reduction efforts undertaken by government agencies, the private sector, and the Police Force.