National Security Minister, Hermangild Francis, has called for draconian legislation that would cause persons to think twice before obtaining illegal guns.
The statement comes against the backdrop of a worrying eleven homicides so far for this year.
Francis has said that a penalty of life imprisonment should be imposed for the possession of illegal firearms.
“Persons who are convicted of firearm offences, you go and serve a life sentence because that is taking peoples lives – so if you are found with a firearm, you are sentenced to life,” the minister told reporters.
Under Saint Lucia’s criminal code, a person who possesses a firearm with intent to injure, threaten or cause injury to person or property is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than $20,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not less than 5 years, or on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term of not less than 10 years.
For the use of a firearm or imitation firearm with intent to commit an offence, an individual is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than $20,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not less than 7 years; or on conviction on indictment to a term of imprisonment of not less than 15 years.
That is in addition to any other penalty to which the perpetrator may be liable.