PRESS RELEASE – Exactly 70 days ago today I stood at this very location to launch a new organization called Speak Out St. Lucia. It was because of the need to speak out against serious ills in Saint Lucia.
At that time particular concern was directed at the crisis situation which existed, and continues to exist in Saint Lucia, with regards to rape, child molestation and incest.
Taking on these issues which have affected Saint Lucia for decades, it was decided to report on our progress after 100 days. However because of the continuing alarming trends we have found it critical to make a pointed and deliberate statement.
Since March 9th a number of rather disturbing crimes have occurred.
These have created a sense of hopelessness and desperation in Saint Lucia. The onslaught of criminal activity seems to continue regardless of reassurances by the authorities, particularly from our Minister of National Security.
In fact, our minister of national security, Victor LaCorbiniere, has single handedly invoked the ire and condemnation of the public for his insensitive and mostly irrelevant statements regarding these crimes.
He has lost the public trust, and failed to reassure the public that anti-crime measures taken under his leadership have any hope of succeeding.
Last week, when asked about the reported rapes at the Derek Walcott Square in Castries, his statements can be considered as nothing less than insensitive, dismissive, and callous.
He very quickly switched the conversation by stating that we could not have had a successful Jazz festival had
there not been an inordinate amount of resources put in by the police and other agencies.
What we ask then, is where are these inordinate resources when we don’t have Jazz? Is the safety of Saint Lucians not of paramount importance the other 355 days of the year?
He went further to say that “we have to be proactive to resolve what might happen..” Then where are the CCTV cameras; where is the necessary nighttime lighting to deter criminals in the city; where is the manpower; where is the equipment; and where is the forensics laboratory. With a constrained police force, we must maximize whatever resources we have to minimize expense to the public purse. This again begs the question of the opening of our forensics laboratory. The failure to have this multi-million dollar facility operational continues to cost Saint Lucia significant amounts of money, and is part of the larger problem of our clogged judicial system. We still have no fixed date for its reopening despite many assurances of it being “soon.”
The need to send evidence samples for testing overseas incurs serious time delays on our already bursting-at-theseams system. Of even more concern, and highlighted by many local and international agencies, is our staggering prison remand population.
To date we have approximately 350 prisoners on remand and 250 sentenced inmates. Petty crime leads to further more serious crimes. In the city we notice impromptu structures being erected on sidewalks and other areas. The seriously clog pedestrian traffic and are a haven for pickpockets and other low level criminals, not to mention drug activity.
Policing 101 teaches any recruit that crowded areas and bottlenecks to foot traffic and to be vigourously monitored. This is why we warn shoppers during the holiday season and other busy times of year to be on the lookout for pickpockets and other criminals.
Yet we have these broken down, rusted wrought iron and tarpaulin structures disfiguring our once beautiful city. Inquiring to the CCC about these impediments not too long ago, I was told that it was useless to enforce the law since a simple call would be made to a government minister and that would be the end of that!
Ironically, it is against the law to obstruct the public footpath, yet one agency blatantly allows it, while another is expected to deal with the fallout of crime which it encourages.
All of this occurs under the watch of our National Security Minister, Victor LaCorbiniere. He has failed to be effective and inspires zero confidence.