PASTOR Franklin Bray was on target when he said last Sunday at the funeral service of slain city councilor Victor Maurice that there’s a virus in this country that must be dealt with. He was referencing violent crime to that of a deadly virus that is causing mayhem throughout the society, seemingly unchecked over the past few years.
Senseless killings which now seem to be the order of the day, coupled with the constant reports of gunplay that always seem to leave a path of death and destruction in homes and in the streets are now severely threatening the security of the country, the growth of the economy and perhaps even the administration of justice, we dare say.
Year after year we continue to hear the same refrain from persons in charge of the affairs at home how much they have done or are doing to restrain and/or eliminate this virus, yet all their efforts seem to fade into nothing as the wanton slaying of our citizens continues, unabated it appears.
The toll on Saint Lucia is beginning to be felt as families try to come to grips with the stark reality that their brothers, fathers, husbands, sons are with impunity cut down and the State comes to grips with the same reality that its upright citizens, some of whom are role models, brutally slain, no more able to provide the guidance needed for the generation of today and tomorrow.
The country, all around, is losing its good citizens to this virus known as violent crime, a virus we believe can be controlled in this 238 square miles country if we all condition ourselves to confront and deal with it head on, but most importantly if those we elect to deal with such issues step up and walk the walk instead of just talking the talk.
While we firmly believe that crime is everybody’s business, we are also of the firm belief that for public confidence to remain high in the justice system, in law enforcement agencies, in the executive branch of government and in the legislature, persons in those offices and positions must lead from the front and show that they are confronting this virus called violent crime head on.
Saying crime is everyone’s business is simply not enough.
It seems that we are at a stage where anyone could fall victim to this virus. Yesterday it was Maurice, next it was businessman John Honora. Last year we recorded 51 murders. High murder rates were also recorded the year before and the year before that. This year we have already recorded seven or eight murders.
As Pastor Bray said, “something is wrong in this country,” and we concur. Whatever is wrong in this country we cannot let it fester. We have to destroy this stain, this evil that is pervading our country.
But while we believe that each one of us has a responsibility to change this country for the better, we have to be candid and remind the State that its single most important responsibility is the security of its citizens. It is the State that must provide the framework and define the agenda within which the security of the nation is ensured.
As we celebrate our 41 Anniversary of Independence let us vow to bring an end to violent crime on the island. Let us all join the government and law enforcement officers who are front and center in the fight to eliminate such a scourge.
Indeed, we have major hurdles to clear like healthcare, unemployment, a weak economy, and more. But none of these could erode the gains we have made to date than crime, particularly the type we have been experiencing of late. That is why it is fitting that each of us play a part in helping eradicate such crimes in our society.