Castries South MP Doctor Ernest Hilaire has described Ciceron as one of the most peaceful and law abiding communities in the Castries basin.
He made the comments Thursday at a news conference during which he said he was disturbed by the offensive comments made about Ciceron and its residents.
Hilaire spoke in reference to an incident on Sunday in which there was a confrontation between some residents and the police as the law enforcers executed an arrest warrant on two wanted men.
It occurred during a carnival activity in the community and a video recording of the incident went viral after it was posted on social media.
According to Hilaire, the carnival activity was in its second year.
“The organising committee worked with all the proper entities to ensure that all the necessary permissions were sought and permissions given – including that of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force,” the Castries South MP told reporters.
He disclosed that the officers involved in the incident were all contracted to work with the parade to ensure a safe event.
“During the parade, the officers arrested two individuals for which they had warrants,” the MP explained.
Hilaire said the action by the police brought an outcry among the revelers and onlookers as it was felt that the situation could have been better handled.
He noted that this led to a confrontation between the officers and the crowd, resulting in the police putting an end to the festivities.
Hilaire made it clear that the Ciceron Activities Committee had no issues with the police carrying out their responsibilities.
But he asserted that the manner in which everything transpired has now painted a negative image of the community of Ciceron.
Hilaire said that since 2016 a lot of effort and resources have been expended to reverse the stigma and negative perception of the area.
“The committee has always engaged the police in every activity, as we want every event to be safe and in incident free,” he declared.
“There has never been – never been any incident at any activity organised in the community,” Hilaire asserted.
After asserting that Ciceron is one of the most peaceful and law abiding communities in the Castries basin, the opposition MP dared anyone to prove otherwise.
“This is not to say that there are not challenges and social issues; but Ciceron is a safe community,” he stated.
He asked whether there were similar offensive comments made at the National Cultural Centre on the same Sunday.
It was an obvious reference to reports of an incident at the Groovy and Power Soca event when smoke grenades were released during a performance, creating what organisers described as a sense of panic and a resulting stampede from the building.
“Did you hear comments to ban all events at the Cultural Centre? Was it Ciceron residents who caused the incident? Why should Ciceron be painted as if Ciceron residents are just bad people?”
Hilaire observed that incidents do happen.
“We must all learn and correct mistakes to avoid them happening again,” he stated.
According to Hilaire, the community will continue working with the police as residents believe that Sunday’s incident could have been handled better.