News, Top Story

Crime Prevention Minister Talks Crime Reduction Looking to Work Closely With Police

By Reginald Andrew

Newly installed Minister for Crime Prevention and Persons with Disabilities Jeremiah Norbert has stated his willingness to work with various agencies, as well as, youth groups on the island in the fight against crime.

A smiling Jeremiah Norbert
Jeremiah Norbert

In his first interaction with media representatives as a minister, on Monday,  Mr Norbert said the ministry is committed to taking  a holistic approach towards crime reduction and seeks the support and participation of the wider society in this endeavour.

The minister said  that initially, the authorities have to assess the current situation in the country and work along with the island’s major crime agency – the Royal St Lucia Police Force [RSLPF] to better combat this escalating crime issue.

“We will be working very closely to arrest the situation on the ground,” declared Norbert, a former police officer with years of experience in the force.

“However, moving forward crime is a very complex phenomena and we need to adopt a multi-faceted approach,” he told reporters, at the media briefing.

“It is one that requires us to look at the socialization of children, schooling and what happens at the school and to look at it in a holistic manner and the approach has to be one that encompasses and involves all the components,” said Norbert.

He said government is committed to working with all groups, including opposition parties “and all agencies who have an interest in fighting crime as the idea is not to alienate or sideline anyone. So, moving forward the idea is to deal with what currently exists and to see how we can develop the holistic plan.”

How does the minister envision his new portfolio as aligning with the youth to participate in the social programmes that the government has implemented, in an effort to eradicate the criminality breeding in the country?

Norbert noted said that since its inception about one year ago, the Youth Economy Agency (YEA) has been attracting quite a number of applicants. Yet, he said, there is also need for more sensitization  and adding an educational component to these social programmes to get more young people involved.

Taking a wider perspective of the matter, the minister spoke about instilling family values and positive thinking agendas among the youth. “We have to look at parenting and current situation that we have with parenting in Saint Lucia,” the minister declared.

Added Norbert: “We don’t want to lose our young people when they turn 15 and 16, and we lose some of them even before that. We need to really work towards trying to ensure that we keep them on the straight and narrow path even before it gets to the stage, where we feel that they now gravitate towards a gang or a life of crime.”

He noted that with several social programmes, in place, the government continues to work alongside community groups such as Rise Saint Lucia and other agencies to tackle the crime issue.

Noting there is currently a total of 19 Youth & Sports Councils, on island, the minister said, “most of them are made aware of what the government initiatives are, and they too have a responsibility to take this information and relay it to other persons within their community.”

He likened the youth groups to a component of local government where they can relay that information.

Mr Norbert disclosed that this year’s budget will include an increase in subvention to these youth and sports councils.

“It may not be a significant increase, but we are increasing the allocation that youth and sports councils are getting now, to allow them to be able to extend their outreach and do a little more than what they are doing now,” the minster asserted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend