Former National Security Minister Hermangild Francis says Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre’s failure to show leadership on the issue of crime is a matter of grave national concern.
Addressing an opposition United Workers Party (UWP) news conference Thursday, Francis said Pierre’s failure undermines the collective resolve to overcome the country’s perennial crime situation.
The former Deputy Police Commissioner declared that the government seems satisfied with just blaming the police. He said he was obligated to speak because there are too many blunders at the policy level.
Expressing his deepest sympathy to families grieving over the death of loved ones who perished due to gun violence, Francis called on the government to take several measures to deal with the crime situation.
They included establishing a national forum for society leaders to work together to overcome the crime ‘crisis’, mobilising additional help from friendly governments to train, arm, and equip the police, and sending a more decisive message to criminals.
He also urged a continuation of the CCTV programme started by the UWP to give Islandwide coverage in areas where crime is very prevalent.
However, in advocating outside help for the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF), the former Minister warned the Philip J. Pierre administration that it must be very cautious about navigating the international controversy between Russia and Ukraine.
“ Now is not the time to make risky international diplomacy blunders. Allowing Russians to apply to our CIP Programme while the rest of our Caribbean neighbours are doing the opposite may well alienate some of the international allies we need in this important fight,” Francis told the UWP news conference.
The former Minister nevertheless acknowledged that no one measure or person or political party could do it alone regarding crime.
“The government must therefore galvanise the abundance of human talent and interests that prevail throughout our society. It must form a strong coalition between churches, trade unions, civil society groups, community leaders and members of the public. This is our country and we must do everything we can to save it,” Francis stated.
Headline photo: Hermangild Francis (Stock image)