Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre and Acting Police Commissioner Ronald Philip joined a meeting involving Customs Comptroller Sherman Emmanuel and his staff following Tuesday’s gunshot injury to a Customs Officer.
“I strongly condemn the recent shooting of a dedicated customs officer, an individual who was simply carrying out their duty to protect our borders and ensure the safety of our communities. This act of violence is not only a senseless act but also an attack on the very fabric of law and order that holds our society together, the Prime Minister wrote on Facebook.
And the Comptroller of Customs disclosed that the officer was recuperating after being shot while in a vehicle at Monchy.
But Emmanuel said Customs Officers were not on strike.
He told reporters that Wednesday’s meeting with staff was to allay their fears.
“Essentially, the staff have concerns having experienced this situation with their colleague,” the Customs Comptroller stated.
“So we had this impromptu meeting with the staff. The PM actually and the Commissioner thought it good to also join the meeting and we were so thankful that they were able to come and contribute to the meeting and help allay some of the concerns of our staff,” Emmanuel stated.
He observed that Saint Lucia faces a security issue nationally, and the Customs & Excise Department wants to ensure that its staff work in a secure environment.
“We are exploring a number of things but I cannot go into detail at the moment on it. But we are having a staff meeting scheduled shortly and these are some of things we will be discussing,” Emmanuel told reporters.
The Acting Police Commissioner disclosed that investigators were following several leads regarding Tuesday’s shooting.
And Philip said the investigation was active.
“We are going to spare no resources. We are going to do all in our power to try and bring a resolve into this matter. In terms of motive, I cannot disclose the information we have at this time,” the Acting Police Commissioner told reporters.
“It speaks to our social fabric. As a society, we need to adopt zero tolerance towards criminals and their activities,” Philip declared.
“We cannot allow the criminals to run wild in this country, and this morning, I pledged my commitment to the Customs Department to work hand in hand to try to bring a level of stability,” he explained.
The Saint Lucia Civil Service Association (CSA) said the Customs Officers were not on strike.
“The members are basically expressing their sympathy. They needed a meeting with the Comptroller of Customs. He met with them regardless of the other commitments that he had. He was able to get the Prime Minister and the Commissioner of Police to address the employees. So we are monitoring the situation,” CSA Industrial Relations Officer Lawrence Poyotte stated.
Poyotte said there would be a meeting of all Customs employees Thursday at 1:00 pm at the Financial Complex.