PRIME Minister Allen Chastanet will tonight touch on the high homicide rate that has resulted in 60 being recorded last year, the highest ever in the country’s history.
Chastanet will be addressing the nation as he delivers his New Year’s message, in which he will touch not only on crime but on climate change, prospects for the future, and the appointment of a Governor General.
But St. Lucians will not only be focused on the announcement of the new Governor General, which over the last few days had generated much public curiosity. Crime, especially the homicide rate, will also be their focus as they await the Prime Minister’s announcement of strategies his administration may have to target a reduction in homicides and crime in general for this year.
Chastanet will have no choice but to address the matter as he promised in his party’s last manifesto (2016) to deal with the multi-dimensional nature of crime and other forms of deviant behaviour.
He made it clear in the manifesto that his party and his government believe that the security of its citizens is the most important responsibility of the State and that it is an indictment on the government of the day if citizens feel they are not safe in their communities and homes.
Opposition Leader, Philip J Pierre, also called on the government to rethink its approach to national development, including crime.
Pierre, in his Christmas message to the nation, called on the government to engage the gifts of all its people, as this is the only way the country and its people could become stronger.
The opposition leader said he will support any initiative that will alleviate incidents of crime, particularly homicides, as one homicide is one too many. He called for each person to respect human lives.
Meanwhile, police are reporting that two people are already assisting them with investigations into the circumstances to two people being killed on the last day of last year. They say that officers from the Criminal Investigations Department in Vieux Fort responded to a report of a motor vehicle stationed on the side of the St. Jude Highway with a male individual slumped over the steering wheel.
The individual, a Venezuelan, 26, named Vincente Jose Mendoza, was rushed to St. Jude Hospital via ambulance but succumbed about 11:58 p.m.
They said that upon a further search of the area, they discovered the body of another unknown, which The VOICE has since learned to be that of Trinidadian, Richie Ramdass, 24.
A post mortem is scheduled for Friday and the police department is appealing to anyone with information to contact the CID in Vieux Fort at 456 3926.
In other matters of a homicide nature that occurred during the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, 22-year-old Dillan Soumere of Bruceville, Vieux Fort found himself facing a charge of attempted murder which was placed on him on Near Year’s Eve, following the death of another 22–year-old.
Police report that on Christmas Day, about 9:30 p.m. at Bruce Ville, Mario Cobb alias Diddy Boy, a 22year-old resident of Westhall Group – Vieux Fort, was found lying on a footpath with apparent gunshot wounds to his neck and abdomen.
He was transported to the St. Jude Hospital where he was admitted in a stable condition but succumbed on December 30.A post mortem examination is scheduled for Friday.
Also, 19-year-old Lance Jade St. Brice of Delcer, Choiseul, was charged in relation to the death of 30-year-old Randy Augustine of Bois Den, Fond St. Jacques, Soufriere on New Year’s Eve.
On Christmas Day, Augustine sustained an injury to his head and transported to the Etangs Wellness Centre and later to Victoria Hospital. However, he succumbed last Thursday. A post mortem examination revealed the cause of death as Cerebral Oedema, which is secondary to Right Intraparenchymal Hematoma due to Traumatic Head Injury with Basal Skull Fractures.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Subsequent to going to press on Wednesday evening, we were informed by the Office of the Prime Minister today (Thursday) that while Prime Minister Allen Chastanet was due to address the nation this evening, he has rescheduled his address for next week.)