Howard University Professor, Edwin Powell, has declared that crime and social issues in Saint Lucia can be easily solved, given the size of the Island and its population.
“Saint Lucia by far is a very small country when it comes to population and when we are looking at crime and looking at other social issues, those are problems that can be easily solved,” Powell told reporters here this week.
“When you are talking about countries where the population is 300 million and you have crime statistics that are disproportionately high, those are places where you may want to scratch your head. But places like Saint Lucia where it’s small and concentrated, we can make a start here and we can actually create a model for change,” the US academic asserted.
Powell has been working with Saint Lucia police on the issue of human rights and is continuing the collaboration with a focus on poverty and crime.
He agrees that there is a link between poverty and crime.
“Wherever there is poverty you are going to have the lowest performing schools; you are going to have the highest in terms of mental disorders; you are going to have the highest crime rates. That is in itself a correlation between poverty and crime, especially increasing crime rates. It’s not only here in Saint Lucia but it is worldwide,” Powell explained.
He said it is incumbent on legislators to identify the issue and find ways to change that trajectory.
According to the visiting US academic, he will be working with law enforcement and visiting juvenile detention centres and the prison, in a bid to encourage individuals to deal with life by not resorting to crime.
He told reporters that the police can be a conduit for change by being out in the community, investing in them, supporting the youth and showing that law enforcement officers understand human rights.
However Powell observed that first and foremost, the police must uphold the law.