Residents of Marchand, Castries believe a gang violence has erupted in their community following at least three shootings, including one fatal, in the community since Sunday.
In an interview with St. Lucia News Online (SNO), several residents, who prefer not to disclose their names out of fear for their safety, called on the authorities to place a curfew on the community as well as “24-7 consistent” police patrols to prevent further bloodshed.
Unofficial reports are that a male was hospitalised following a shooting in Black Mallet, Marchand after 8 p.m. Thursday (May 18, 2017) – the third such incident within five days.
Less than 24 hours ago, around midnight, another male was wounded during gunfire, and on Sunday (May 14) two males were shot with one – 22-year-old Kimbert Lynch – succumbing to his injuries while being treated at Victoria Hospital.
“Everyone knows who shot Kimbert and it hasn’t ended,” one resident told SNO. “The police need to do a better job because more going to die.”
Another resident said the war is believed to be between a small gang and a larger, more organised gang – both from Castries inner-city communities.
“We the residents are in constant danger,” the resident said, adding that the criminals will strike anytime of the day.
“They killed Kimbert in the daytime. No one is safe,” the resident pointed out.
Residents believe that sooner or later persons not directly involved in the war will become targets.
“When the criminals can’t get each other, it could be your brother, sister, niece or young children. This needs to stop,” one resident said. “We need 24-7 consistent police presence.”
However, a police official, who prefers to remain anonyous, told SNO that despite the public outcry, residents are not willing to go on record to give evidence to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“They know the criminals. They eat, sleep and drink with them, but they won’t cooperate with the police. We can only do so much with the limited resources we have at our disposal. We can’t just arrest people based on hearsay. We need hard evidence and we need solid witnesses – people willing to testify in court,” the official said.