Yesterday’s gang violence has left behind not only broken families but communities fearful for their safety. The seemingly targeted and retaliatory homicides which intensified over the past few weeks have no place in an economy poised for economic development and growth. We must work together to combat the growing presence of firearms on our streets and to protect our citizens from the scourge of gun-related crime. We must all take action to reduce the number of guns in circulation in Saint Lucia.
In addition to strengthening existing laws, and providing firearm detection equipment and training to the police, I am calling on members of the public to do their part by reporting any suspicious activities relating to guns or other dangerous weapons. The criminals do not care about us, therefore we must commit to safeguarding our lives and livelihoods by having zero tolerance for crime. I am calling on our workers who man the ports and other unguarded routes of entry to carry out their duties honourably.
The government will also continue to work with the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force by providing them with resources that will facilitate the investigation and prosecution of illegal gun possession. We will also work to increase awareness of the dangers posed by gun-related crime on affected families and the psychology of our nation.
Saint Lucia does not produce firearms. Our region has become a dumping ground for illegal arms. Saint Lucia is working with friendly governments to provide the necessary resources for our country to deal with strengthening our capacity to deal with these issues. CARICOM Heads of Government are due to meet in April this year, to further discuss “Violence As a Public Health Crisis” and provide solutions to this regional issue.
I call on the public to support the police and their efforts as they work valiantly to address this situation and bring peace back to our communities. We cannot continue in this vein. We will all suffer. The police have been called to take all necessary measures to bring the situation back to some degree of normality.
We must fight these criminal gangs and their leaders who are intent on destroying our country for their own selfish and criminal reasons.
I am confident that with our collective efforts, we can make Saint Lucia a safer place by ridding ourselves of these cowards and criminals.