CRIME and healthcare are two issues which are heavily debated in this country, however, despite the debates and attention given to them, even from the highest echelons of government, there seems to be a hopelessness amongst the citizenry that these two issues are incontrollable.
Take healthcare for instance. A quick look at the performances of the Government of Saint Lucia over the past decade could only be described as dismal, which is not to say that over the years, ideas had not been presented on how the health situation in the country should be improved.
In fact, the manifestos of the various political parties, even those that are no longer in existence, are filled with such ideas. Their development agendas for Saint Lucia are not devoid of plans for the country’s healthcare, from the introduction of a system to provide affordable healthcare and medicines to every citizen, to the establishment of universal healthcare to provide a comprehensive, publicly guaranteed package of health services to Saint Lucians to the provision of a well-structured and efficient system offering high quality basic healthcare.
The point is, Saint Lucians have heard it all when it comes to healthcare but have yet to enjoy all those wonderful promises.
We concede however that there are indications of upcoming improvements in the healthcare situation in this country, but as of today, they are still indications. To many Saint Lucians, the fulfillment of the promises made may come a little too late.
There is no doubt that we have wasted a lot of time, and money in dealing with our healthcare issues and we have no one to blame but ourselves as we sit back and let political parties dictate to us the pace of our healthcare development instead of us dictating to them the urgency to get certain things done.
Let us now turn the lens on crime, which can cripple our fragile tourism industry, and by extension the economy of Saint Lucia, if we do not rein it in.
Just like healthcare, our political parties have been the loudest in stating ways they could handle the scourge. From the adoption of a zero-tolerance approach to crime and lawlessness at every level within the society, to proper handling of the security of Saint Lucia and the administration of justice, to empowering the police force to win the fight against crime.
Again, we have heard it all. A crime symposium held in November 2017 which brought together some of the best minds in the country to present ways in which crime could be handled was seen as a big step in the right direction in the fight against crime. Promises were made and the country was given the assurance that the suggestions made at the symposium would be taken to Cabinet and transformed into a policy.
Where is that policy today?
Crime, violent crime at that continues unchecked, or so it seems, and not just the murders of which we are now registering four per month or slightly higher for the year. The carnage on our roads, caused in part by the refusal of some drivers to adhere to the traffic laws and defensive driving applications are also claiming a toll on the country.
We simply cannot continue like this anymore. The time for the citizens to speak up has come. Controlling crime and fixing the health of our people are too important to be dependent on promises made by politicians solely.