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Three Gunned Down on Independence Day

Prime Minister Pierre Calls For Unity At All Costs

‘Saint Lucia Independence’, GOSL
‘Saint Lucia Independence’, GOSL

SAINT Lucia’s 45th Independence Anniversary celebrations ended on a sad and disturbing note as three young men were shot dead on Thursday evening

The bloody killings of last year seemed to have followed into this year, which, in its second month, has recorded an astonishing  number of 17 homicides, a worrying trend for Saint Lucia.

According to police, this latest spate of deadly shootings took place in the evening of Independence Day in two separate incidents.

Initially,  at about 7:50 p.m., the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in Vieux-Fort, responded to a shooting which occurred between Roots Alley and George Shine Drive, Vieux-Fort.

In this incident, six men sustained apparent gunshot injuries. Two of the individuals, identified as Quincy Mathurin, 23, also known as “One Shot” from Cedar Heights, Vieux-Fort, and Edley Celise of Martin Luther King Street, Vieux-Fort, succumbed to their injuries.

The other victims received medical attention and are currently reported to be in a stable condition.

Also, on  that same night at 9:40 p.m., officers stationed at the Richfond,  (Dennery) Police Station responded to a report of a fatal shooting.

Reports are that Baune Dumar, 47, a resident of Grande Ravine, Dennery sustained multiple gunshot injuries. He succumbed to his injuries and was declared deceased by a medical practitioner on the scene.

Police have appealed to the public that anyone with relevant information may contact them at 456-3690 or the Major Crimes Unit at 456-3754. Alternatively, anonymous tips can be given by dialing the number 555 (the Crime Hotline) or by using the RSLPF’s Crime Hotline Application, which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.

The killings, however, did not affect the day’s celebrations which had all the activities of past independence celebrations such as the Military Parade, Independence Celebratory Rally and Independence Showcase, all of which took place at the Soufriere Mini Stadium.

Musicians, dancers, stilt walkers and more livened the atmosphere, highlighting the immense talent  of Saint Lucians. It was also a moment to reflect on the island’s achievements.

“The right of self-determination which brought about our independence from colonial rule brought with it the right to pursue our national aspirations and full responsibility for all aspects of our social and economic wellbeing,” Prime Minister Philip J Pierre said in a speech on Thursday.

“Having accepted this, we are now in charge of our social and economic life and structure. These rights and responsibilities we are duty bound to govern to our best abilities in keeping with our values, principles and the expectations of our people,” Pierre added.

He continued, “although we attained independence 45 years ago, we are still encumbered by some aspects of colonial rule. It was only last year our country acceded to the Caribbean Court of Justice as our final appellate court to replace the United Kingdom based Privy Council. But this is not the end, we have to acknowledge that at this juncture in nation building there is still work to be done to fully proclaim our true liberation from colonial rule.”

“Government has revived the Parliamentary Committee on constitutional reform with the mandate of examining the work of the constitutional reform body and  make recommendations for a new Constitution and status for Saint Lucia,” Pierre said.

The prime minister urged Saint Lucians to unite as the country moves forward, noting that the theme for this year’s anniversary (‘𝐃𝐨𝐮𝐯𝐚𝐧 𝐀𝐧𝐬𝐚𝐧𝐦; 𝐁𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚 N𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 T𝐡𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡 𝐔𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲, 𝐑𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐂𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐢𝐭𝐲’) was chosen to create national awareness.

Pierre called on Saint Lucians to embrace the progressive sprit of unity and love “as we build a more equitable, inclusive and just country.”

“As a country it will serve us well to adopt a unified vision for the future. This vision must be fashioned through continuous civil dialogue and consolidated through inclusiveness in our social and political relations; in fairness, in resource allocation and an unrelenting desire to improve the wellbeing of the less fortunate,” he said.

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