Saint Lucia and other Caribbean nations are battling with an upsurge in gun-related crimes, and have agreed to work together to tackle the common problem.
At a recent 33rd Intersessional CARICOM Heads of Government summit in Belize, Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre and his CARICOM colleagues agreed that the support and cooperation of major regional and international partners, including strong intelligence and information-sharing, were required to win the ongoing battle against Transnational Organized Crime.
The CARICOM Heads agreed to establish a regional Gun Crimes Intelligence Unit “to function as an early-warning system and a support mechanism for national firearms investigations.”
But while CARICOM is gearing-up to deepen cooperation on intelligence sharing on transnational operators and operations, the Saint Lucia Prime Minister has been calling for joint local responses to the upsurge in gun-related crime at home.
Pierre has made repeated calls for more public cooperation and assistance with and for the police.
He repeated, last weekend, for a call for “a collective response involving the police and the public”, and to avoid playing the blame game in what should be a National effort in the fight against crime.
In reassuring the public of his government’s efforts, Prime Minister Pierre said his seven-month-old administration had already provided the police with support, within its fiscal limitations, by providing more vehicles, training and the upgrading of the Forensic Lab.
Home Affairs Minister Dr. Virginia Poyotte also called for “a united front” to tackle the increasing gun crime, with 14 homicides in the past seven weeks.
Meanwhile, six persons are in custody assisting the police with their investigations into the March 5 police ambush, and killing of an officer during a cash escort operation.
The regional Gun Crime Intelligence Unit is expected to help governments at the CARICOM level, while the local police and government insist that public cooperation is indispensable in the fight against gun-related crime and crime generally.