Against the backdrop of a record number of homicides in 2021 and two fatal shootings so far for the New Year, Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre has expressed that he remains ‘deeply troubled’ by the incidence of crime, particularly violent ones.
Addressing a news conference on Monday, the Prime Minister declared that Saint Lucia is beginning to look like a country consumed with anger and rage.
” As a country we must return quickly to having respect for life. That respect comes with recognising the rights of others and giving to every citizen what is their due. Our young people cannot be settling their differences with the power of the gun. There are just too many guns in the hands of citizens who should not be carrying them,” Pierre lamented.
He reiterated his government’s commitment to supporting the police in their fight against crime, declaring that the labour administration continues to provide resources to law enforcement despite limited finances.
And while acknowledging that the root cause of serious crime may stem from dysfunctional social conditions, the Castries East MP said short-term measures could alleviate the scourge of violent crime.
He urged the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) to do more in this regard.
“I cam calling on the management of the police to do more and take control of our streets and communities when crime appears to be flourishing. There are legal means by which we can do that,” the PM explained.
“We need to get those unlicenced firearms off our streets. In the coming weeks, I am expecting to see some police initiatives to bring the level of crime under control. We cannot have another year of so many homicides,” the PM asserted in his opening remarks to Monday’s news conference.
In the meantime, Pierre said his administration would continue plans to change the social structures that drive young people into anti-social behavior and criminality.
He called on all citizens to support the police in their efforts to fight crime, explaining that everyone stands to gain if violent crime is under control.
“The social and economic cost of crime is becoming a heavy burden on our country. We can do more – the government, the police and the citizens, to correct this growing problem of violent crime. To bring the crime situation under control, my government will be providing the resources and the police will be expected to make effective use of these resources and the rest of us must lend support to the work of the police,” Pierre said at the news conference.