The government of Saint Lucia will be reaching out to youth at risk as part of initiatives to curb crime, Home Affairs Minister Dr. Virginia Albert-Poyotte has disclosed.
She spoke as the country chalked up its 60th homicide on Sunday, equalling a record set in 2017.
“The crime is a serious concern to the government and we have to work hard in prevention of crime, “the Minister declared.
“And under my watch we are creating a new department that will look at youth at risk so we do not allow them to reach the stage and the level of criminality,” Albert-Poyotte told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of parliament on Tuesday.
” So in the coming months you will hear a little more about this unit,” the Babonneau MP stated.
Albert-Poyotte, who oversees the administration of the police, revealed that her significant responsibility is to ensure officers get the tools they need to carry out their duties.
“Right now the police are calling for headquarters. They need better vehicles and they need other security devices to carry out their work and the government has committed to providing the police with the support they need. As you know the economic situation is very tight but we are actually putting the resources in the right place,” the Minister asserted.
She also expressed concern about the slow pace of justice, declaring that it was unfair for people to be in jail for long periods, some appearing in court multiple times without getting a verdict.
Albert-Poynette told reporters the government might have to review the legislation to expedite the process.
“We have more persons on remand in prison than persons who have been convicted and this is something we have to address,” the Minister asserted.
But on the question of outside help for Saint Lucia in its fight against crime, including assistance from the Regional Security System (RSS), Albert-Poyotte explained that Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre is ‘seriously looking’ at some security measures. However, she said she could not reveal the measures.