Letters & Opinion

We must Take the Bulls by the Horns

Image of Carlton Ishmael
By Carlton Ishmael

Over the last year-and-a-half, lots of money were spent and much effort put into softening the blow that the Coronavirus has dished-out on St. Lucians, but there is another virus crippling the country known as Criminality and less effort is placed on reducing that scourge.

If there is no action or attention paid to common certain ills, then worse will continue.

Of late, the high spate of theft is becoming a new norm as criminals take it for granted that we do not have a stop cork for their actions, so they do as they please — and will take their chances, knowing that law enforcement is not the state’s priority.

Murders and theft are on the rise and so is child abuse and abuses of all types — and in most cases justice is not being served. We have to come to the realization that we have several negative actions and situations that need to be put on the front burner.

We have an economic crisis and a health crisis, but we also have a crime crisis and equally all need to be considered as crucial and top priorities. But the Mister Nice Guy approach and comments like “People steal because things are bad” or, if you are associated with government or have friends in high places you can get away with murder. But all these are false premises on which to govern a Country.

We have to get firm in our resolve, to take the Bulls by the Horns and make examples of all who transgress the Law. Civilization is dependent on laws, which, if not enforced chaos will be the result. I believe the people watch the crimes committed at the top (what we call “white collar crime”) and since almost nobody in that ilk ever gets arrested, jailed, or made to pay for their actions, they feel they too are free to create a form of local criminal terrorism because crime usually goes unpunished. The police, the justice system, the government, as well as civil society groups, all need to get into a conversation.

We need to find solutions and not just talk issues without resolving. Enforcement is vital, but across the board. You cannot continue to have one sector of the society being blamed for all atrocities and some in another grouping feeling free to rip-off, or obtain things through other means and use their money to avoid incarceration. The law has to be applied to all and examples have to become the new order of the day.

You have often heard the term “living by example”, but if you must enforce the law at the lower scale, you must enforce it at the highest levels too. No one should be above the law and transparency and accountability have to become the new mantra for this administration.

I, and nearly all others, want to see change at all levels. Those who do not perform to install new values and change the manner of doing things at their institutions must go too — in other words be replaced. In my book, no Job should be secured, it has to be about performance. Too many people are under-performing, some are qualified, most do not get results or impact positively.

A new St. Lucia, to me, means a new mentality and not just the changing of the guards. And we must stop favouring people by their name or their social status and treat every citizen the same, just like we treat every voter at elections time. The new change offers an opportunity for a new beginning, even with COVID and Crime like it is, we cannot afford to give up. So let us make a fresh start by actually starting to do something about the things we like to talk about when everybody is complaining without offering one word on how to make things better.

1 Comment

  1. How weak is law enforcement in Dennery and other villages that the island is beginning to look like certain places in Mexico. The people are under constant threat from roving gangs of gunmen.

    Or, are law enforcement officers themselves heads of the various crime rings that thumb their noses at the people’s plea for help?

    Have we arrived at a bend where citizens are afraid to report the criminals to the police lest the police themselves tip off the criminals telling them who reported them?

    And like a modern Gestapo the criminals burst into and take violent revenge on the informers?

    Have we found ourselves in a maze where the scent of unbridled power of corruption have risen in the heads of policemen and their superiors and now they have entered into a strange alliance with criminals against the people?

    Have St.Lucian youth become so adept at perpetrating such deadly vendettas that they are deaf to the screams of blood crying for blood ;

    That cause young men to cry at the funeral of their friends one day before others scream at the news of their death at the barrel of a gun

    Man, it just spoke to mate at Java’s funeral. Don’t have two days now he too, is dead !

    Wo- yo- youi! Nous cai fenir ec wass nou- meme. Bon dieu ne miseracod. La- peine en coeur- nous, d’leu na zie- nous!

    There is a gaping hole in the safety net of the security of the people of Dennery, Vieuxfort, Castries and all the villages of St. Lucia. It must be blocked immediately

    Mr. Ishmael’s warning bell to set all aside and grab the “ raging bull “of deadly shooting sprees by the horns is not to be taken lightly. It is high time to:

    Investigate the state of the island’s law enforcement service;

    Conduct an aggressive purge and incarceration of personnel ( at all ranks) found to be involved in criminal acts

    Re- staff the force with officers who are fully vetted for character, ethics in human relations

    Strengthen the Criminal Investigation Department providing it with financial, personnel and tactical resources to combat the onslaught of crime and violence in high crime areas in the communities

    What must be done about the proliferation of guns, cutlasses, etc. is truly an enigma.

    The government may have to institute some stringent gun control laws and design transparent accountability and oversight protocols for disarmament of such magnitude

    Understand well, that all initiatives and grand plans for the advancement of St.Lucia will not happen unless we dismantle the juggernaut of shootings, murder, robbery, rape and other pernicious violence that stamps on and crushes the peace and security of St.Lucians in their homes and community.

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