Gang War Pushes Homicide Toll To 4.

Nelson's relatives comfort each other last Thursday.
Nelson’s relatives comfort each other last Thursday.

GUN violence erupted in the city for the second time this week, further heightening public fear that the situation might become worse before it gets better.

Forty-three-year-old James Alexander Nelson of Calvary Road, Castries became the fourth homicide victim for the year after he was shot and killed on the sidewalk near Courts Showroom on Chaussee Road Thursday.

The fatal shooting occurred just after 8:00 a.m. during the mid-morning rush, prompting many people to express their concern for being more wary about traversing the area even in broad daylight.

Scores of onlookers gathered near the scene where police cordoned off an entire block of Chaussee Road between St. Louis and Micoud Streets.

A police forensic team was seen processing the area where Nelson’s body lay for about two hours before being taken away by a Rambally Funeral Parlour hearse.

According to unconfirmed reports, Nelson had just left his home and was walking along Chaussee Road when he was shot by a group of individuals who immediately fled the scene. There have been reports of people noticing a small group of individuals acting frantically near the area moments before Nelson was fatally shot.

Relatives of the deceased broke down in tears as they stared at Nelson’s body lying on the sidewalk. They described him as someone who had no known feud with anyone. The VOICE also learned that Nelson was one of the men who – along with Asher Emmanuel who was shot and killed Tuesday – had recently acquired a tree-cutting contract in the island’s north.

Business in the area came to a halt last Thursday with many business places, including Courts and Shoe Circus, closing temporarily. Sidewalk vendors, too, closed up shop. Services at the nearby Castries Health Centre were also disrupted temporarily.

Speaking to the media last Thursday, President of the St. Lucia Craft and Dry Goods Vendors Association, Peter “RasIpa” Isaac, issued a message to sidewalk vendors, urging them to refrain from plying their trade until steps are made to bring normalcy to the precarious situation. Isaac described the situation as “worrisome” for those putting their lives at risk trying to earn a living. Many of those vendors, he said, are traumatized by the frightening experience.

“My advice to them is that they should stay home for a few days and look to see what’s going on,” Isaac said. “I don’t think what’s going on there is good for their business and their lives. I think they need to protect themselves.”

Director of Human Services, Elizabeth Lewis, also weighed in on the psychological effect the recent spate of violence has been having on the citizenry. She said such incidents of crime demand that proper psychological care is offered, especially to the victims’ loved ones.

“Certainly with an incident like that we have to provide some level of trauma counselling and debriefing,” Lewis told the media at Thursday’s crime scene.w. We will be working with the families as we recognize that a lot of people are affected.”

Acting Police Press Officer, Acting Corporal Zachary Hippolyte, told The VOICE on Thursday that he could not confirm whether police officers were posted in the area around the time the shooting occurred. He said police find themselves playing a cat and mouse game with the criminals.

“These criminals actually have their own intelligence,” Hippolyte said. “Sadly and unfortunately, the police cannot be everywhere at the same time. As much as we would like to be, we just don’t have that superhuman power. But I’ll continue to say that rest assured that no matter what the situation, we will do whatever we have to do by doing our duties professionally and, hopefully, cut down on these incidents of violent crimes.”

Hippolyte said police have been receiving leads in relation to the recent homicides and are pursuing those leads. Nevertheless, he said, police are urging citizens who might have information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of those involved in the crimes to provide that information.

Thursday’s fatal shooting was the fourth in a five-day period that began last week Saturday. Between Saturday and Tuesday, three men – 49-year-old Anthony “Tony” Harris, 27-year-old Oran “Wong” Charles and 48-year-old Asher “BJ” Emmanuel – were shot and killed by assailants who later fled the scene.

The VOICE has learned that some individuals have been picked up by police for questioning in relation to last Thursday’s fatal shooting.

Stan Bishop began his career in journalism in March 2008 writing freelance for The VOICE newspaper for six weeks before being hired as a part-time journalist there when one of the company’s journalists was overseas on assignment.

Although he was initially told that the job would last only two weeks, he was able to demonstrate such high quality work that the company offered him a permanent job before that fortnight was over. Read full bio...

1 Comment

  1. The corruption continues.
    Months ago I said the following.

    !) Over 500 people have been murdered in St. Lucia over the past 15 years. It has been directly correlated with the breakdown of decency in the society inclusive of the breakdown in family life. 87% of St. Lucians are now born outside of married family life and all evidence (from endless studies in the USA and Europe) points to the absence of the biological father in the home as the chief cause of violence in a society with no control over the youth in their developing years. In the process we have also become a corrupt moral community where drugs, alcohol and sex are paramount. We have replaced ‘freedom’ as an ideal with ‘freeness’ in all walks of life as in a lack of personal responsibility and the view that we can do as we please whether it is drug taking or stealing or sexual perversion. We ideolise single motherhood with its feminization of poverty and corruption of young women.

    2) The only reason we have had a hiatus in the murders was that the corruption and linkages between the police, drug underworld, government and big wigs in the society meant that the decision was made to ‘calm down’ the murders because of the heat from the English and Americans due to the Gobat murder and the revelations coming from the IMPACS report. Only in an utterly corrupt society can such a phenomenon occur.

    3) Subsequent to my assertions we learnt from the IMPACS Report that there is indeed a strong correlation with crime and linkage between the police, the drug underworld, the government and big wigs in our society. In other words I asserted this was an issue and now even a report backs up my claim.

    4) How dysfunctional is our society is made so much more apparent by the fact that NOTHING of substance has come out of the IMPACS Report. It might as well not have been written just like so many other reports gathering dust in government offices.
    Remember the report on the cost overuns and mismanagement and the view that there is an acceptance of corruption in this country that is part of the fabric of the society? Did not change a thing.

    With the IMPACS Report you have to ask the questions.

    Who were responsible for the extra judicial killings? Who ordered them? Who carried them out? Was the government of the day involved? An extra judicial killing is murder yet all we hear is that some people might lose their jobs!
    Even more importantly. Who are the leaders in society or in government, business and the police force who are part of the corruption as noted in the IMPACS REPORT and has bee alluded to in other previous reports?
    When the government came on and informed the people of the contents of the report I saw it as a joke as it offered no solutions and just glossed over the importance of the revelations. They might as well have said nothing. Just more obsfucation from a government that since 1997 has created nothing but mayhem, dysfunction and debt totalling billions.

    I am not asking anything that is not obvious to most members of this society but it is indicative of what a failed state that we are that no one cares or are too afraid to say anything.
    What is ironic is that we claim to be a Christian nation when our actions show otherwise. We also fail to see that our moral corruption also affects productivity, job creation and the future of our citizens. We continue to decline in every aspects of our society even in such importance things as the ease of doing business for investors. All part of the corruption yet the Chamber of Commerce, the Church , the legal fraternity continue to let things slide.
    All the hand wringing and prayers and expressions of alarm are a waste of time as is the political wrangling because the reality is that ‘we like it so’ and no one has any intention of doing anything to alleviate the problem. No wonder the well educated leave and every child’s dream is to move out to the USA or Canada to get away from the evil that permeates this society.

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