In his New Year’s address to the nation on Sunday, January 13th 2019, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet delved into the sensitive and vital issue of Security and Justice.
As of December 2018, the island had recorded a mammoth 43 homicides, a number that undoubtedly concerned the Prime Minister, as he confirmed spending much of the last 30 months sourcing and providing some of the very basic needs for the police force that were not available when his administration came into office.
While conceding that government is still miles off the course to providing much of the necessities needed for seriously tackling our crime problems, he did however outline strides made by his government that were instrumental to fighting the menacing situation.
Such strides included the appointment of a Director of Public Prosecution and increased resources for the DPP’s office;reopening of the Forensic Lab; investments in Closed Circuit TV Cameras and police communication systems (which was promised “to be operational within weeks”) and a new Police Headquarters which is to include six new courts, a state-of-the-art control centre and improved facilities for the police.
As expected, the Kenny Anthony led administration came under heavy scrutiny for the dip in confidence within the ranks of the police force and for sanctions placed on the police by the United States of America in 2012 which included travel and overseas training. According to the Prime Minister, “the Labour Party government’s irresponsible handling of the IMPACS investigation, has also contributed to the sharp decline in the morale of our police, who are doing their utmost in overwhelming circumstances.”
Prime Minister Chastanet contended that his government remains resolute in the war against crime and have taken steps to combat crime at all levels, “including instituting social programmes that address crime at its root.”