WHEN will we as a people say enough is enough and set about helping each other to do what is right thereby bringing an end to crime and violence in this country?
From the beginning of this year right on through to the first week in September, Saint Lucia has been soaked with crime and violence, almost proving it seems, that the innovative policy responses at both the law enforcement and government levels to combat these scourges are not working.
We are nine months into the year and already we have had 33 homicides; that’s three per month on a 238 square mile country with a population of 175,000 people.
The carnage does not stop there. On our roads it’s an almost everyday diet of vehicular crashes. Speaking only for the Castries/Gros Islet corridor, vehicular accidents there are constant. Everyone seems to be rushing to go somewhere that is just a five to ten-minute drive away; a rush that is absolutely unnecessary, costing untold damage to property but most importantly costing us lives, mostly young Saint Lucians in the prime of life with so much to look forward to.
All this is nothing but madness. A madness that must be stopped. Government has related plans to tackle crime and to ensure the security of all the country’s citizens but we still await some real movement in this area. The police say they have a strategic plan to fight crime in the country but that plan seems to be producing fruits unrecognized by most of us because criminality continues to go unchecked in this country – just ask the self employed shop and bar owners in Micoud who are having a rough time keeping bandits from breaking into their establishments, especially within the past few days and weeks.
Governments past and present have offered all types of approaches to address crime and violence in the country. Some of them, when on the campaign trail, present the electorate with all types of blueprints for action claiming that when elected they will bring crime and violence to manageable levels. This never happens. However, all have agreed that crime and violence are pressing and troubling problems.
Why can’t the authorities get a grip on crime and violence, which pose serious threats to the welfare of citizens? Don’t the authorities understand that beyond the direct effect on victims, crime and violence inflict widespread costs, generate a climate of fear for all citizens and diminish economic growth while presenting widespread challenges to the country’s development?
How can businesses flourish when crime keeps battering their doors? What good will be our $500 million and more brand new Hewanorra Airport when tourists decide not to come to Saint Lucia because of their constant fear of being robbed?
What good is the lovely looking Soufriere Town Square when in fits of rage citizens decide to break parts of it? We need to get a handle on crime and violence in this country. We need to eradicate crime and violence in this country so that we can really transition into the new Saint Lucia that we all so desperately need.
The three branches of government, the police, civil society, youth groups and others need to get serious about crime by sending out messages that spell out in detail the consequences perpetrators of crime will face and letting it be known that we do not tolerate criminality.