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Minister for Commerce: Crime Impacting Image of Country

By Reginald Andrew
Hon. Emma Hippolyte, Minister for Commerce
Hon. Emma Hippolyte, Minister for Commerce

Commerce Minister Emma Hipployte has cautioned that the negative impacts of violent crime in Saint Lucia can utterly tarnish the image of the country.

Police reported on the latest spate of incidents that occurred last weekend, including robberies, physical attacks on visitors at Soufriere, resulting in the death of an expatriate resident on the island. And, reports indicate that since these incidents occurred, hoteliers in the island’s northern region are advising their guests not to travel down the west coast by themselves.

Speaking to reporters, recently, the minister shared her concerns about the negative impact that these criminal incidents are having on the communities.

Hipployte also spoke concerning unconfirmed reports, which alleges that a woman in the company of two children were used as a decoy to lure an unsuspecting driver away from the main road in a rural northern district. However, reports state that the alleged plot failed, and the driver was able to flee from the scene with his vehicle.

“The security of this country and your personal security rests in your hands Saint Lucia,” declared Hippolyte.

“It’s not just one thing that is going to deal with the issue that we have, the police has to do its part, and the government is doing its part,” she said.

Commenting on this upsurge in criminal behavior, and especially involving young persons, she added: “Again on Saturday, we heard of several incidents around this country and the challenge for us is to see what is in the head of our young people.

The parliamentary representative (MP) for Soufriere, stated that during her recent address to residents from the constituency at the launch of the ‘Christmas Village’ program, she implored the residents of Soufriere and by extension the Saint Lucia public, generally, to play a part in ridding the community of these rogue criminals.

Said Hippolyte: “The persons who are doing this are our children, our sons, they are our cousins, nephews, and our boyfriends so we have the information.  We see the things that are happening in the home or around the home and in the neighbourhood.

“We know and we can see the activities, we know the implications of these activities so we cannot bury our head in the sand and think my boyfriend or my niece or my nephew is doing this and is involved in this activity, but it is somebody else that’s going to pay for it.”

The minister adds that, these incidents, are “impacting the image of our country externally, and also the safety of our people.  It’s impacting the economy of our country.”

She said with the country currently experiencing an acute rising ‘cost of living’, and the latest increases for bread, and with food security and other factors impacting the country, the worrisome issue of crime must be tackled head-on.

“It is not only the responsibility of the police to put control, it’s (also) our responsibility as a people. Each one of us has information, we hear things, and we need to know how we share it. We need to know how we encourage or talk to the people that are close to us, but we have a responsibility to put an end to the darkness that is covering our land.”

Hippolyte went on to say, there are a lot of things that can be done differently, and “people can do different things at different  times,  but we need to talk about it,  we need to pray about it to bring light into this country and  we need to change our lives.”

The Soufriere MP added, “We must stop focusing and thinking that when we have a son or a husband that comes home with a few dollars, and we don’t focus as to where the source of this money is coming from we need to understand what is happening to us.

Hippolyte asserted: “But all of us are impacted … speaking as a Saint Lucian, the security of each one of us is in the hands of each one of us.”

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