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Prime Minister Phillip Pierre Vows Stiffer Penalties to Combat Gun Violence

Prime Minister Phillip Pierre has vowed to enact and impose ‘stiffer gun legislation’ and related policies to deal with the escalating incidents of gun violence spreading over the island in recent times.

Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Hon. Phillip J. Pierre
Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Hon. Phillip J. Pierre

Despite efforts by law enforcement officers to rid the streets and neighborhoods of illegal firearms with a recent ‘swoop’ operation that yielded the confiscation of several guns and quantities of ammunition, the gun violence acts committed on the island have not abated.

Ian Joseph, 40, a resident from Cul de Sac, Castries, is the island’s latest homicide victim – taking the murder toll to 17 cases, for the year. According to reports, the man was shot in full public view on Jeremie Street in Castries last Saturday evening and later succumbed to his injuries.

This firearms-related crime situation is quickly becoming a growing and worrisome concern for the government, and Prime Minister Pierre felt impelled to declare that ‘draconian measures’ will have to be employed to deal with the matter.

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“Whereas we believe in the separation of the three branches of government …I am going to advise the Cabinet that we stiffen the penalties for gun possession,” Pierre told reporters, on Monday.

In the wake of the recent spate of gun violence crimes that police reported accounted for more than 90% of last year’s record number of 75 homicides, the government intends to move with haste to urgently address the situation.

“We have to go through the system…but we are going to parliament very shortly to change the laws as it relates to illegal possession of guns and ammunition,” said the prime minister.

“We are going to stiffen them because these crimes with these weapons must stop,” Pierre asserted.

Stating that the government will legislate tougher laws to apprehend perpetrators involved in gun-related violence acts and other criminal behaviours, the prime minister added: “We are going to stiffen the penalties and they will be very strong draconian penalties when it comes to the possession of guns and ammunition.”

Pierre, the minister responsible for national security, said that while the government cannot determine the action or judgment from the courts, “but as far as the legislation is concerned we will be going to parliament …and I will advise the Attorney General to stiffen the penalties for gun possession and gun-related crimes and (possession) of ammunition.”

Pierre anticipates that the enactment of stiffer penalties will deter criminals from committing gun-related crimes.

Another growing concern for the authorities is the inability to fully and effectively monitor the island’s porous coastal borders that appear vulnerable to the involvement of criminal activity, including the illegal shipment of guns and ammunition.

Critics have also called for the authorities to assist law enforcement officers, for them to be able to ‘step up’ their surveillance operations with the assistance of modern technology and apparatus to better detect and intercept the shipment and distribution of illegal weapons and ammunition into the island.

Speaking at the Saint Lucia Labour Party’s 71st Annual Conference of Delegates on Sunday, Pierre noted that citizens’ safety is crucial. According to him, the effects of crime is far reaching, and thus he indicated, it must be dealt with swiftly.

Pierre reaffirmed his commitment to the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF), vowing to assist the RSLPF as much as possible. However, he made it clear that officers must play their part in the fight against crime.

“We are aware of the problems facing our country (and) we know that crime is creating a feeling of fear and trepidation among our people. We are taking steps to improve the capabilities of the police force,” Pierre said.

“I have pledged to improve the working conditions of the police and provide them with the training and modern crime detective equipment, however, our police must show a commitment to maintain law and order as government has demonstrated clearly their intention to provide more resources as seen by the provision of 11 vehicles (for the RSLPF) last week,” he added.

1 Comment

  1. O Lord
    Why has this
    Come to pass
    In St. Lucia

    Why should we say
    The fathers have eaten
    Sour grapes

    And the children’s teeth
    Are set on edge

    How O Lord
    Can we find healing
    For this grievous wound

    Children rule over us
    We tremble at the rising
    Of little boys with guns
    In their hands

    Have our sins
    Procured us these things
    Who let let dogs in

    Who ate crumbs
    Thrown to children
    Under the tables

    Who left the children
    To the tender mercies
    Of drug kings

    Mama I-la
    Lapeine en chere nous
    D’lo en ziere nous

    Desolation Deya nous
    Ca batte shalbawee
    Yohn leterremah ei lot

    Bayiere cemetierre
    Ca mabay vageance
    E-pas/sa seporte
    Semaple patte-nous encore

    Where will
    We find comforters
    For our mourning
    In the morning

    Will Bordlais save them
    No this breeding ground
    We know

    Will forty lashes
    With a lo-lo beef
    Save them- maybe

    Will the arms
    Of discipline of an army
    Save them

    Boys from 18-22
    Snatched from
    The streets
    Sent to study manhood

    Will forty acres
    And a mule save them
    If we put some money
    In their hands

    Set the leavening
    Send them to farm
    Their way back
    To dignity

    Maybe after
    Forty lashes
    With a lo-lo beff
    Correct them

    O LORD
    How do we return
    Back to
    SWEET ST LUCIA

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