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Pierre to Address Crime in 2022

Crime fighting will be an area of focus for Government in 2022, Prime Minister Philip J Pierre announced during his New Year’s address to the nation. He said government will tackle the effectiveness of crime detection and avoidance this year, as well as the root causes of crime.

Saint Lucia last year recorded its highest number of homicides per year in its history, 75, however Pierre implied that 2022 will be different.

“In the first instance, we must tackle the effectiveness of crime detection and avoidance. This will require new technology, training, and infrastructure. We will be building new facilities for the police in Castries and Gros-Islet, providing additional vehicles and equipment. Monitoring and surveillance will be boosted through the use of modern technology,” Pierre said.

Police accountability is also high on the list for Pierre, who vowed to “boost professionalism and improve their conditions of work.” He also revealed that government will take concrete action to reduce the backlog of court cases by appointing new judges in the criminal justice system.

“We will strengthen the laws against domestic abuse crimes. We will also reinitiate plans for the creation of a new Halls of Justice Complex, separate and distinct from that of the Police Headquarters. However, we must also address the root causes of crime as well. Attention will be given to our system of social support, particularly our human and family support services,” Pierre asserted.

He also spoke about the importance of good governance, which he believes will undoubtedly benefit society. According to him, how a country governs, sets the tone and tenor for the entire society.

“One of the challenges facing our country is their confidence in the rule of law. A corrupt government will beget a corrupt society,” Pierre noted, adding that government must ensure that justice prevails for all citizens and that that there are consequences to wrongdoing.

“Corruption must not be tolerated by anyone including politicians and public officials,” he added.

According to Pierre, Constitutional reform will be placed on the front burner once again. He revealed that government is working to bring Saint Lucia’s accession to the appellate jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice and said that “we must not be afraid of our own potential to do great things and trust our institutions and systems.”

Pierre also shared his plans for the Youth Economy which he says will create a special space in the economic system for young people to develop and grow their ideas.

“The youth economy will be flexible to allow young minds wanting to engage and succeed in ventures. It must not be burdened with excess bureaucracy, red tape, and official doctrines, however, it must demand accountability and responsibility. It must provide the necessary incentives and opportunities for young people to be encouraged to pursue their dreams,” Pierre noted, adding that the youth economy will present a new developmental focus to complement and create synergies with existing businesses in Saint Lucia.

“The youth economy aims at turning hobbies into entrepreneurship and skills into business by providing finance, training, marketing, and mentoring to young people seeking self-sustainable employment. It must be able to attract and integrate rural youth and urban at-risk youth who must have confidence in the fact that their ideas matter and (that) they can become independent and sustainable entrepreneurs,” he said.

According to Pierre, the youth economy will create a new enterprise culture and reduce the constraints that young people face in accessing credit and finance and the availability of support services. This, he noted, will call for financial innovation including the reform of institutions that presently provide financial facilities.

“The youth economy will cater to young risk-takers and provide venture capital facilities, grants, and loans for feasible workable projects. The youth economy will provide an avenue for young people who have a special interest in certain lines of economic activity such as sports, music entertainment, designing, the creative economy, cultural activities, digital economy, arts agriculture, and the blue economy,” Pierre said.

Further, he said, government must provide special incentives to support the involvement of young people in these areas of specialization.

“The programme for the youth economy has started with financial assistance from the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan). This year we will be reaching out to young people to allow them to reap the benefits of that initiative. In 2022, our education sector will also be called upon to begin making major shifts towards greater use of technology and greater infusion of technical, vocational, and skills development,” he added.

The private sector will be a key partner in creating opportunities that will seek to change the mismatch between education and the skills needed for the modern global workforce, Pierre said.

On another note, he observed that “the year 2021 clearly showed that our Tourism Industry is dynamic and resilient. We saw a record number of daily arrivals and increased airlift. We intend to continue on this path mindful of the effects of COVID-19 on travel. The investment potential for tourism projects is encouraging and we expect to announce new hotels and other investments in the new year,” he said, adding that government has signaled its desire to create a business and commercial sector that will not only create jobs but will ensure a meaningful return on investment for all investors.

“We will seek to eliminate unnecessary bottlenecks in our doing business culture. Small and medium-sized enterprises will be supported to allow them to complement the goods and services produced by the larger enterprises. The manufacturing sector must be encouraged to produce acceptable products for local use and export,” Pierre said.

“As we continue to battle with the economic plight of the banana farmers hoodwinked by a government that promised new markets in France, we will make a real effort to find markets for our bananas in the region and possible supermarket chains in England. Meanwhile, we are encouraging our farmers to grow high-value products like sea moss, soursop, cocoa. There are also opportunities in honey production. These crops can add value to our export potential,” he added.

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