City Police officers are concerned about a statement this week by National Security Minister, Hermangild Francis, asserting that there is no need at this time for them to be issued with firearms.
The statement followed an earlier announcement by the Mayor Of Castries, Peterson Francis, that guns would be issued to the officers.
A well informed source told the Times that the minister’s statement has not gone down well with some officers, who assert that although the minister told reporters that City Constables have the assistance of the regular police, that is not always the case.
The source said City Police officers are especially concerned about the 10.pm to 6:am shift.
It was claimed that regular police units are rarely, if ever, on the beat then with City Constables,although there are police mobile patrols.
Castries Mayor, Peterson Francis, has told the Times that his job is to ensure that City Police officers are not only well paid, but well protected.
“We have a 10 to 6 – I mean, we have seen our City Police on the road, I don’t know that we can say the same thing for the (regular) police at that time. I know they have patrols in vehicles and so on,” the Mayor said.
“Our guys have to be protected,” Francis, who is the brother of the National Security Minister, Hermangild Francis, told the Times.
Asked whether he would approach the minister on the matter of issuing guns to City Police Officers, the Mayor indicated that he was not aware that there was a ‘no guns’ policy.
“I don’t know that there is a policy and we have not received any directives,” Peterson Francis told the Times,adding that he is making arrangements for the City Police to get firearms.
He observed that former members of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) have joined the ranks of the City Police.
“I do not consider my City Police to be amateurs to the extent that you can’t trust them,” the Mayor asserted.
He explained that City Police officers face the same risks as regular police officers,perhaps even more because of their “newness.”
“They are very new in the game. Why should the police be armed when they go into dangerous places and we have to go the same places?” The Mayor said.
He told the Times that whether it is a matter of guns or otherwise, the City Police officers will be provided with the means to protect themselves.
Currently, the officers are equipped with radios.
on Francis, has promised that City Police officers will soon be equipped with firearms. “Within a week or two weeks they will be equipped with guns,” Francis