THE police must be commended for the swiftness with which they have apprehended three suspects in the St Mary’s College burglary. The fact that have recovered at least one item stolen in the raid is indication that they are on the right track.
We do not make it a habit of prejudging court cases but given the brutality that was reportedly dished out to the SMC security men by these thieves, our hope is that the perpetrators, whoever they are, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and receive swift justice.
It is time that St Lucia sends out a clear message that such acts of violence and destruction will not be tolerated. It is time that criminals are made to understand that the people have had enough of their activities. These recent attacks on our school system are going to cost all of us at a time when we can ill-afford it.
The St Mary’s College psysical attack and the reported sexual and violent assault on a woman in Dennery by a man who allegedly gave her a lift, are the latest manifestations of the social sickness that pervades our country. It is as if some of us have suddenly gone mad. We have frequently commented on this development as well as the need for us, as a nation, to take a long hard look at what is going on with a view to stopping it in its tracks in the quickest possible time.
The crime situation in St Lucia and the vicious manner in which people are being attacked did not surface overnight. It is with us as a result of a graduation from the kind of minor offences that were being committed over time. We saw these offences taking place right before our eyes, downplayed them as being of no consequence and thought they would soon blow away. They blew away all right, but into more serious incidents as we are seeing now. Today, crime has become a popularpursuit, an industry in itself with employees, assets, trading links and economic spinoffs. We have to break down this syndicate.
St Lucia also needs to begin paying serious attention to the conditions that give rise to the emergence of so many angry young men who are unleashing all kinds of violence on their fellowmen. The fact that these outcasts have begun turning their attention to school children at one end of the demographic scale and senior citizens at the other is a serious development and we need to recognize the implications of this trend. In a country where nearly everything that was intended to protect our people have broken down over the years, we need to ask who will protect the most vulnerable.
We plead again for a human development agenda for St Lucia. Let us put on hold for a while, this passion for “projects”, regardless how attractive to the nation’s psyche some of them may be. We need to begin confronting the factory that is producing so many criminals who are now unleashing their violence on the rest of us and shut it down.
We need to stop the babbling and come together to examine the options for a serious attack on crime. We need a structured agenda, something that will produce the desired results. We did not need St Mary’s College or the attacks at Castries Comprehensive and elsewhere to give us a wake up call, but we got it anyway.