Saint Lucia this week recorded its 62nd homicide for the year when a man known as Kieran Francois was shot and killed in his bed at his home in Marigot.
This is the highest number of homicides Saint Lucia has recorded in any given year in recent history and with just about one month remaining in 2021, we fear that this number may rise, although we hope that it does not.
Also this month, the audacity of a small group of burglars stunned the country when they pulled a heist at Massy Stores Mega at Choc that netted them a quantity of goods worth over $180,000.00. Quick work by police resulted in the arrest of five men less than 48 hours after the crime was discovered.
Then just days ago a (blood) brother killed a (blood) brother – echoes of Cain and Abel, horror of horrors.
Burglaries, gun violence, stabbings (fatal and non-fatal), killings and other types of serious crimes dominate media headlines on a weekly basis to the point where it seems that nothing can be done to stem the flow. This has resulted in the rise of what we call ‘crime experts’ – persons who appear on social media purporting to have the antidote for the poison known as crime. Sadly, their antidote has never worked – as useless as those offered by the ‘experts’ who came before them.
Nothing it seems is working to halt the relentless march of the beast known as Crime in this country. And it is not because the authorities are sitting on their laurels doing nothing. To be fair, succeeding governments have tried to arrest crime in its tracks.
From boardroom discussions to physical interactions out in the field, to appeals to the population to join as partners in reducing or eradicating crime; from crime symposiums to police led operations to confront the perpetrators of crime, to the installation of CCTV cameras all over Castries and the upper north of the island, much has been said and done. Yet still, crime marches on, oblivious it seems to the all-round effort on the part of all sectors of the society to bring it down.
What else can Saint Lucia do to harness Crime and keep it at bay?
There are many answers to that question. And as mentioned earlier, there are many ‘experts’ on the subject flooding social media with free advice on what can be done to halt crime.
This is not to say that certain measures taken to mitigate Crime have not worked. We would be unfair to suggest that. In fact, there have been measures undertaken by the authorities which have slowed down certain criminal activities. These measures are still bearing fruits today. One such measure is the resuscitation of the city police under the auspices of the Castries Constituencies Council.
Another measure was the formation in 2019 of a unit within the police force to deal with robberies/burglaries. Reports reaching us indicate it was that team, through its analysis and understanding of the modus operandi of burglars over the past two years, and with a bit of luck, which was able to move so swiftly in the Massy Store Mega case to recover much of the stolen items and arrest five men.
And so yes, there has been some success in beating back crime, however that success is still woefully inadequate, as crime still marches on relentlessly.
And so, we come back to the aforementioned question: What can Saint Lucia do to harness Crime and keep it at bay?
We have our own thoughts on that; however, we would like to proffer that the authorities do away with its common perception of crime, meaning that persons who are in the lower social and economic strata are criminals, seen as synonymous with crime while those in the upper echelon of society who engage in what we call ‘white collar’ offenses are seen differently.
Until this is done, until all perpetrators of a crime are seen in only one colour, only then can we say we are ready to bring down the crime monster.