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Police in Line for More Resources to Crime Fight

Prime Minister Philip J Pierre
Prime Minister Philip J Pierre

THE Royal Saint Lucia Police Force is in line to receive more resources to combat criminality in the country Prime Minister Philip J Pierre says, at the same time admitting that his administration is focused on causing a reduction in gun-related offenses.

Noting that reducing crime would entail taking on a holistic approach, the prime minister pointed out that government has provided the police with “all the operational space that they need to implement the policy of the government, which is to reduce crime.”

“They (police) have all the space that they need and we give them all the resources that we can …and in the Policy Statement, they will be given more resources to combat crime,” Pierre asserted.

Pierre, who spoke to reporters earlier this week, explained that Saint Lucia was not the only country in the region combating rising crime, especially gun-related crimes.

Over the years, regional leaders and law enforcement personnel have expressed concerns about the porous borders in the territories that facilitate the illegal shipment and distribution of guns and ammunition in these islands.

The issue was a major topic of discussion at the recently concluded CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in Guyana.

The issue of citizen security came under critical review at that meeting, as was the proliferation of guns to the region.

The issue of climate change was also addressed and listed in the upper echelons of the priorities of the governments, as well as, the social upheavals occurring in the beleaguered sister isle of Haiti. It has been reported that gangs armed with guns and ammunition continue to terrorize the citizens of the country as attempts are being made regionally and international to abate this volatile situation.

“The CARICOM governments are very concerned about what’s happening in Haiti …and the situation has deteriorated further this week when 4,000 prisoners were made to flee from the prison,” Pierre said.

He added that the situation has given rise to a “serious security problem…and a cause of great concern”, and regional leaders met “face-to-face” with the current Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry to a lengthy discussion on the matter.

Pierre said, the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup was also highlighted and “there are some legislative situations that have to be put in place.”

He recalled that the last ICC World Cup had incorporated the “sunset legislation”, which has since expired. “This week, the attorney generals are going to meet …to look at that unique legislation. The world has changed and security is of great concern to all the Caribbean countries,” the prime minister added.

“There was also great concern for citizen security, (as) it’s a great concern throughout the region. And even at CELAC, citizen security and climate change, these seem to be the biggest factors obstructing the growth of these islands,” he said.

On the approach to dealing with the citizen security issue, he emphasized: “There is one general consensus – the illegal importation of guns. There are too many guns that are coming to the region.”

Pierre continued, “Secondly, gang warfare. So, we have to find out why are young people attracted to gangs and gang warfare. There’s a feeling that crime has become a public health issue…because when there is a shooting it has an effect on the public health system.”

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