MANY argue that crime should not be treated as a political issue because it affects all of us and no one party has the solution.
Generally, I agree with this, because this scourge has long tentacles and it affects us all, irrespective of status or partisan association. But it would be downright hypocritical to ignore that the UWP in opposition made crime a pillar of their campaign. The then Minister of Justice, Philip La Corbiniere, and Prime Minister Kenny Anthony were constantly excoriated by Allen Chastanet, in particular. In fact, it was Chastanet’s declared promise that “Kenny can’t, but I will…” (in relation to the crime situation that affected us all) that offered tremendous comfort to many St. Lucians.
The big question today for all St. Lucians, as well as everybody else living on this island, is: Do you now feel safer under Prime Minister Chastanet? I know I do not. I live in fear to leave my house every day.
Granted, maybe those in the Prime Minister’s community do not experience this fear, but I would argue that the majority of us feel this way. Based on recent denials, it is obvious that the Prime Minister and “Spider” Montoute do not have any issues with crime. In fact, according to a television interview I heard a few weeks ago, in their estimation, “St. Lucia does not have a crime problem!’
So, one is left to assume that the unprecedented 60 homicides in 2017 were not enough of a significant crime record for the Prime Minister – and this is the same man who said he would make this country safe for us all…
I have to admit, though, that the mutterings of these two (The PM and The Spider) were not totally unexpected, especially against the report recently provided by the Royal St. Lucia Police Force at the crime symposium, which neither of these two “crime gurus” attended.
Again, for the benefit of the Prime Minister and The Spider, a search for definition of crime anywhere online will give some of the following:
1. An illegal act for which someone can be punished by the government, especially a gross violation of law.
2. A grave offense, especially against morality. (I wonder if this one will fit the Minister in Ministry of Finance…)
3. An action or omission that constitutes an offense that may be prosecuted by the State and is punishable by law.
From a layperson’s perspective (Mr. Prime Minister and Mr. Spider, listen attentively), crime includes homicides, sexual offenses, offenses against property and/or person, etc.
Noting that the Prime Minister missed that symposium, let me reiterate some of its highlights.
According to statistics of the Central Intelligence Unit of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force, a total of 14,654 crimes were reported during the period January to September 2017. This represented an increase of 1,295 or 10% in reported crimes, when compared to the same period in 2016.
Did you hear that Prime Minister? There was a 10% increase in reported crimes at September; and unfortunately (but for sure) those figures would have surely gone up by December. And note St. Lucia, sadly, this is just “reported crime”. So, what about the others that people do not report?
The police also noted that during the period January to September 2017, there were 40 homicides recorded island-wide. Since that last count by the police, from October to December 2017, twenty more homicides occurred taking us to 60, almost a double increase from 32 in 2016. The unfortunate fact is that 2017 has earned its place in St. Lucia’s history recording the highest number of homicides to date, a full total of 60 – and under the watch of Allen Chastanet and the UWP.
What a crying shame for an administration that touted that it knew how to solve the crime scourge, with a PM who said: “Kenny can’t, but I will.”
Just to be clear, readers, no one is elated to discuss these crime increases because we all live here and it affects us or our families directly. But what we need and have to be concerned about, despite Chastanet’s campaign promise, is the lack of any clear strategy by this administration to attempt to bring a sense of security and safety to the residents in this country.
The citizenry would like to know what are this Government’s plans to ensure our safety? What will this Government do to stop the gang violence and the increase in illicit activity? Does “Spider” have any new social interventions to address the social ills that condemn too many to a life of crime?
“Spider” was lucky enough to benefit from a USAID project secured by the Labour administration to work with inner city youth at risk of exposure to crime. But what has he been able to do on his own? Anything?
I do believe that when Allen Chastanet said “Kenny can’t, but I will…” some of the populace generally believed that he had some concrete measures in mind and plans in his bag to restore peace and security to this country. No one expected, not even in their wildest dreams, that we would have seen and he would have overseen a double increase in homicides!
We expected to hear how this Government would have reduced opportunities for crime to occur, how they would increase private sector partnerships, how they would be improving the judicial system, providing a timetable for review of existing or enacting new legislation.
This is what the citizenry expected of this administration — delivery of the promise to make us safer. Sadly, as at December 2017, they have received an “F” mark in that regard!