A Time To Join Hands

AT the rapid rate at which violent crimes have been spiraling out of control thus far, the annual homicide rate – now in the forties – seems likely to become a new record. God forbid! After years of trying various interventions that seemingly continues to miss their mark, the time is ripe – again – for those who often preach to want to change the dynamics to actually prove their seriousness.

Over the years, criminals have been made to feel emboldened due to the virtual lack of the political will to step in, step up and put a stop to the politicization of crime of which both major parties are guilty. When was the last time that our elected politicians came to a consensus to sit in a joint session in an effort to at least share ideas on how to solve the crime problems in their constituencies?

For what they’re worth, the party manifestoes that circulate every five years often have the same pitch: reducing crime to make citizens feel safer. How safe have citizens been feeling in, say, the past decade? Are our police officers properly equipped to deal with the deluge of criminality that even shows its face in broad daylight these days? Is there a clear plan as to how to mitigate crime, including sending a direct and firm message to criminals that the State means business?

Most of the times politicians do meet in Parliament, they are there to do either of two things: borrow heavily or debate and pass new legislation for which the country can ill-afford to even finance let alone enforce. Hardly are there those refined moments when our politicians put the blame gaming and shaming aside to squarely come up with proactive measures that lean towards citizens and visitors feeling safe.

What often happens – shamelessly – is politicians often go the low route by comparing numbers, lambasting each other for not sticking to their manifesto pledges, accusing each other of improprieties as well as trying to score cheap political points with crime — insipid banter that gets us nowhere fast.

Earlier this year, both Prime Minister Allen Chastanet and Leader of the Opposition, Phillip J. Pierre, sat on a panel moderated by former Attorney General, Kim St. Rose, to discuss the recommendations suggested by the Constitution Reform Committee some years ago.

At the time, it seemed that both gentlemen were in concert that if Saint Lucia was to move forward, certain paradigms would have to either be shifted or done away with altogether. It was crucial that they agreed on that at least, since opposing for opposing sake always seems the normal, especially when the respective flocks are near. In the interest of all Saint Lucians, we call on both gentlemen to start that dialogue by at least sitting down together to discuss and find solutions as to how to ameliorate a society fast becoming known for its crime rate than for its willingness to join hands to solve problems.

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