In an effort to help reduce the high incidence of crime on Saint Lucia, the government plans to place more resources towards helping to improve the current judicial system.
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said his administration will see to it that more judges and legal support staff are hired this year, in order to make the judicial system stronger and effective.
This announcement was made on Thursday evening during a live press conference.
“I long believe that tackling crime and making sure that there are convictions. I think criminals must know and understand and appreciate, when you do commit a crime, that the judicial system is going to move very swiftly to be able to convict you, and that there is a penalty for crime,” Chastanet stated.
The government, he said, has taken note of the escalating trend, while admitting that the crime level is unacceptable. He said government also understand the grievances many Saint Lucian families face daily.
“We are never going to take our eye off the ball. Unfortunately, this is going to require the effort from all of us…We have to get to the point where we are ashamed and embarrassed by crime itself,” he added.
On that note, Chastanet said he is not convinced that poverty contributes to crime.
“Saints Lucians need to see criminals as people affecting our society. We should not be protecting them,” he asserted.
The prime minister also believes that the solution to reducing crime requires social change.
“So we have to do more work in our schools, our communities. And we have to get policemen more willing to not only arrest people, but be part of the process of preventing crime from taking place.”
Addressing concerns about crime particularly at tourists sites, Chastanet said an audit is currently underway to determine the shortfalls and this will help to determine where more security is needed.
The government is also looking at the gaps that exists in the current CCTV system, in order to improve this.