Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has been responding to public concerns over his administration’s crime fighting strategy, one day after Saint Lucia’s latest murder.
Saint Lucia has so far recorded 41 homicides for the year.
Chastanet acknowledged that people are raising questions about the crime strategy.
“I have said from day one that there is no one thing to solve the crime problem in Saint Lucia,” he explained.
Chastanet told reporters that crime needs a holistic solution.
He spoke of the need to improve border controls.
In this regard, the PM noted that Saint Lucia is moving towards a new border control entity.
In terms of the courts, he disclosed that there’s still a backlog of over 1,000 criminal cases.
“That’s why getting these new courts built as quickly as possible is critical,” Chastanet asserted.
“Health insurance and life insurance for my police officers, properly equipping them. We’re actually looking at changing our investigation team,” he disclosed.
According to the PM, making the investigating team part of the laboratory and not the police is being explored.
He explained that under such a plan, the investigating team would be independent.
“It also can’t be that it takes so long to bring things to court,” he told reporters.
In addition, the PM spoke of the need to provide young people with alternatives.
He said families that are unable to keep their children at school need to be supported.
He also said Saint Lucia needs a new value system.
“We’re working on all those things. It is not until all those things are fixed, sadly, we are not going to see a more significant change,” Chastanet stated.
Nevertheless he declared that Saint Lucia has seen a significant reduction in major crime.
“Sadly, murder is not one of them,” Chastanet lamented.
But he expressed the view that the reduction in other major crimes is an indication that some of the measures being put in place are working.
On Sunday, 28 year old Ali Jordan was gunned down at Leslie Land, Castries, a community that has been the scene of a recent spike in gun violence.
Jordan’s death is the second targetted killing in the area in about a week.
Three males have also been injured by gunfire in a separate incident over the same time period.
Prime Minister Chastanet said the gun crimes seem to be related.
“It’s exasperating that young people in particular are resorting to this lifestyle and the solution to a problem is to kill someone,” he said.
Headline photo caption: Flashback: PM Chastanet speaking with reporters outside parliament before Covid-19 (File photo)