PRIME Minister Allen Chastanet believes that the creation of a single regional security unit could augur well for islands such as Saint Lucia, because of the variety of activities it could be involved in.
He is hoping that at some point in its growth, the new entity could end up investigating major crimes like the FBI does. In fact, he sees IMPACS as an ideal matter that falls right into the lap of the new entity to investigate as an independent body.
“There are times when the police are involved in the cases and you need an independent source to help you with the investigation,” Chastanet said.
The Prime Minister was at the time giving the media an overview of his trip to Trinidad and Tobago two weekends ago when he attended a special CARICOM Heads of Government meeting on security during which the idea for a single security unit for the region was discussed.
The Prime Minister included the still in conception regional security unit into his overall plan to combat crime on the island. He believes that the unit would do well in helping Saint Lucia beef up key areas of crime fighting, particularly within the Intelligence Unit of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force.
All of this is coming at a time when government is working actively to bring a halt to major crimes in the country as the homicide rate continues to climb.
“There is no one solution to the problem that we have,” Chastanet said in response to reporter questions about crime, noting that crime is a multifaceted issue that his government intends to deal with.
Chastanet said the island needed to get to the point where it was possible to gather intelligence in a matter that was conclusive and irrefutable in order for investigators to get convictions in the court of law without having to depend on testimonies and witnesses.
The Prime Minister recognizes that to reach that stage with intelligence gathering, certain departments and facilities would need to be brought to acceptable levels of skill and standards, and as such he said his government was keen on getting the Forensic Lab at Tapion up and running with a skilled staff component.
Work has been done on the Lab over the past few months, including the repair of its roof. A staffing problem seemed to have been solved by the addition of five more employees.
The Prime Minister recognizes the court system as imperative in the fight against crime and is dedicated to improving that system by creating more courtrooms to hear major criminal cases.
But even while Chastanet agonizes over bettering the necessary facilities needed to fight crime successfully, major crimes continue to happen here seemingly unabated as businesses continue to register loss through armed robberies, the latest being a Chinese restaurant on Brazil Street called Sea Town.
A number of murders have been accomplished lately by bandits robbing and attempting to rob businesses in the country. Just last week two brothers were charged in connection with the murder of local shop owner, ‘Stan’ Pistol. Charged are Donovan Ishmael and his brother Reuben Ishmael.
Then there is the problem of guns and ammunition in the possession of young people, and merchandise police seize off their bodies on the regular. Again, just five or six days ago police reported a sizable seizure of illegal drugs and offensive weapons, in just one night.
But Prime Minister Chastanet appears not to be daunted by criminal activities facing him on all sides of the country. He is adamant that somehow the resources must be found to deal with crime.
“The critical thing here is not why we have to do it, it’s not how we are supposed to do it, but where are we going to get the resources to do it,” Chastanet said, referring to the regional security unit being discussed at the level of CARICOM Heads of State.