Saint Lucia police are concerned over modified firearms in the hands of criminals amid a spate of gun violence that has prompted Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre to announce plans to introduce ‘draconian’ legislation to address the situation.
“Right now we are stumbling upon prohibited weapons and when I say prohibited weapons I mean weapons that have been modified – weapons that have been adapted to fire multiple rounds,” Sergeant Shervon Matthieu disclosed.
Matthieu spoke Wednesday night during the DBS Television programme Newsmaker Live.
He told programme host Timothy Poleon that there are Glock pistols with what he described as ‘selectors,’ allowing the discharge of an entire magazine with one trigger squeeze.
Matthieu observed that when such weapons discharge, there would be multiple casualties.
“it’s a point of concern for us and I believe the powers that be need to move quickly into making amendments as they relate to firearms and possession of firearms,” he stated.
Sergeant Zachary Hippolyte, who also appeared on Newsmaker Live, observed that the lawmakers’ job was to deal with the amendments.
“All we can do is make the recommendations. They would have to answer the question as to why it takes so long,” Hippolyte explained.
In pressing the case for tougher gun laws, he recalled seeing officers risk their lives on missions in the dark in areas where they have to crawl to get an illegal firearm off the streets.
“Sometimes they are successful – an individual charged, brought to the court. Then when you hear the penalty that’s handed down to that accused, you sometimes say to yourself ‘Was it worth it?'” Hippolyte said.
“I think the judiciary needs to do better. They can do better. We can do better. We all can do better to stem this tide of gun violence,” he asserted.
Hippolyte also addressed the notion that criminals have more guns than the police.
“The guys out there don’t have more guns than the police. The thing is that the criminals out there they don’t have a code, they don’t have any form of procedure or law to follow. They are reckless and they would do what they want. The police cannot do that,” he stated.
“We cannot go in Morne du Don or in Gros Islet or anywhere and we just take out an M16, whatever that we have and say ‘Hey, this is what we have’ and burst it for people to hear. Then people would say ‘Oh my goodness, the police have more guns than those guys’,” Hippolyte told Newsmaker Live.
At the same time, the officers acknowledged that crime is not limited to gun violence.
Headline photo (L toR ) Shervon Matthieu & Zachary Hippolyte