The thought of walking late at night through the city of Castries is almost unthinkable nowadays. Restaurant and bar owners are severely cautioned if they are considering the idea of continuing business operations well into the night. People who are seeking a night out are also advised to go far from Castries into the north or south of the island instead. “Go anywhere, just don’t stay in town” –that is the common tone of the
advice which is given. What is becoming of our little city of Castries? It is not hard to remember those days not long ago when the streets of Castries were pleasant to walk through during the night. These days are fading fast.
Bandits from all around have chosen Castries for their playground it seems. The city of Castries is no longer safe, and should therefore be avoided so long as one can afford to do so. It is either that the city is in fact no longer safe, or the stigma of all the crime which has transpired within our city in the past, have given her a nasty reputation that she is now forced to uphold. What would it take to restore the safety that we knew, to walk once more beneath the moonlight as we now do under the sun? Does the city Castries need to become like Rodney Bay in order for us to feel a little safe again?
What we need is stronger police presence in and out of the city parameters, and not just during the day. Perhaps there are people who wish to go out for a midnight stroll, or business owners who wish to conduct business at night. We cannot wait for them to take the initiative in an environment in which they feel unsafe. The police need to start the process by changing the atmosphere of the city with their unremitting presence, so as to give the rest of us the confidence to reclaim our city from the bandits that abuse it. People must be made to feel safe in their homeland.
Many hotel workers shiver with nervousness at the thought of being ambushed every time they head home after the night shift. It should not be this way. Tourism is treasure in St. Lucia, and it is our responsibility to protect every facet of the industry, which includes hotel workers and every St. Lucian by and large. The crime which happens every where in this country is a wound to the tourism product which is cherished so much by so many people. Castries is still the capital of St. Lucia and it should be spoken of as one of the safest places to be. A greater effort is needed from the government and law enforcement, to give Castries the reputation that it deserves. — Allen Alexander