National Security Minister, Hermangild Francis, has defended the police in the face of a spate of gun violence in the country, including a shooting Tuesday morning at Bois D’Orange.
A man on a motor scooter was wounded when masked gunmen alighted from a white Toyota Corolla and opened fire at him before driving off.
“The police have been working assiduously,” the National Security Minister declared.
“If you listen to the press releases you would realise that only last week the police recovered about four firearms; so they have been doing some work,” Francis told reporters Tuesday.
Asked about the presence of high powered weapons on the streets and especially in the hands of young persons, the National Security Minister said it was a cause for concern.
“These weapons can cause a lot of destruction,” he stated.
Just recently an eighteen year old Gros Islet male was arrested and charged for possession of a TEC 9 semi-automatic pistol.
“We need more information and once we get the information we will act,” Francis explained.
Asked what could possibly be hindering the police from getting the firearms off the streets, the minister told reporters that it would be almost impossible to get all the firearms off the streets.
“You need to have the intelligence so that you can target individuals,” he stated.
Francis observed that Saint Lucia has a population of some 170,000 people.
He declared that the police will not be able to speak to everyone at all times.
Responding to assertions that there is need for stiffer penalties, the minister noted that although the death penalty is on the books people still commit murder.
He expressed the view that as long as people are ‘predisposed’ to committing crime they will do so.
“It is for our justice system to work as quickly as possible so that when they are caught they will be dealt with and sent to prison,” Francis observed.