Antigua Observer:-“It won’t be business as usual,” Public Safety Minister Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin warned during a press conference yesterday as he rolled out a raft of hard-hitting measures aimed at reducing crime in Antigua and Barbuda.
Acknowledging that there has been a spike in gun related crimes this year, the public safety minister said the anti-crime measures would include stop and searches, which will be increased in criminal hotspots.
He also pointed to stronger legislation, more resources to the law enforcement agencies, enhancing cooperation between the police force, the army, the Organization of Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP), the Customs and Immigration Departments.
Minister Benjamin also said that X-ray machine facilities and K9 units will be installed at the various Ports of Entry to tackle the importation of illegal firearms. “Let me make this clear to all and sundry in this nation, the government has a zero tolerance to crime.
Who does the crime, will pay and serve the time,” Minister Benjamin declared. “Antigua has sun, sand and sea and safety and security.
We shall make sure that those two last words are enforced in the state of Antigua and Barbuda.” The public safety minister added that based on the records he has received, twelve suspected murders were committed in Antigua and Barbuda between the period February 12 and August 18, this year.
He said six of those crimes have been solved, including the shooting death of Almack “Jahute” Lambert of Nut Grove in February; Glenmore “Natty” Hughes that same month; the stabbing death of Gavin Edwards in June; Jalon Thompson who died in July after he was allegedly stabbed with a knife; missing woman Vincia James; and the recent killing of 20-year-old Xavier Thomas of Cedar Grove.
The public safety minister said it appears that some of the recent incidents are targeted to specific groups and people attempting to protect their turf or are expressions of retaliation and revenge.