Community leader, Jim Joseph, has called on Saint Lucians to close ranks against crime, asserting that the government and the police are not solely responsible for addressing the problem.
Joseph, who is the President of the Beausejour Community Group of Gros Islet, spoke to St Lucia Times against the backdrop of a spate of armed robberies of business establishments.
He lamented that sadly, for those intent on evil, a change in administration does not automatically signal a change in mindset.
According to the community leader, the issue of criminality is deep rooted and multifaceted and calls for a multipronged approach in dealing with it.
Joseph explained that if crime is to be solved, it must be tackled at its core.
He declared that people cannot expect the new Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) government or the Commissioner of Police to be the ones solely responsible for tackling crime.
“Granted, they do have a significant role to play as they need to send a strong message to the criminals of zero tolerance, but equally important is the role of civil society in combatting the issues before us,” Joseph asserted.
“Everyone has a part to play, all of us must be concerned and be devoted and dedicated to solving this. There is need for the revitalisation or commissioning of community and neighborhood watch group where we can join forces and build stronger networks for surveillance and reporting of incidents,” he told St Lucia Times.
“We need to build stronger ties with the police and the police must be equipped and empowered to be able to respond to incidents. The justice system must function more efficiently than what currently obtains, so that people can be assured that they are not wasting their time reporting crimes or even calling the police or when persons are arrested,” Joseph stated.
But he also explained that the focus must not only be on prosecution.
“We have look at preventive measures. We must provide alternatives to a lifestyle of crime. We have to start at the home, at the church, at our clubs, at the school. We have to highlight the positive role models amongst us so that our young people can be inspired and be dissuaded from a life of crime. We cannot glorify criminality and expect our youth to do differently,” he said.
“As we have elected a new Prime Minister and a new government, let’s all work together to solve this problem. We have the power to make a change – we are better than this. Let’s work with our young men. Let’s be mentors, let’s step in where we can to provide assistance and support to those who are not able – the single parents, the less fortunate amongst us. It takes a village to raise a kid,” Joseph expressed.
Headline photo: Armed bandits at a cash register during a robbery at Builders Choice in La Fargue, Choiseul on Thursday, July 15, 2021.