Opposition Leader Philip J. Pierre, in his response to the prime minister’s Budget Address, has advised the government to leave politics out of crime fighting.
Pierre said when his Saint Lucia Labout Party (SLP) government was in power they made “great strides” in addressing the crime issue but never played the political card because “we recognized the complexity of the issue”.
Pierre said when the United Workers Party was in opposition they used the incidence of crime as a “weapon to attack the performance” of the SLP government.
The former government minister advised the government to “resist the temptation” to make “political capital” out of the work of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
“The DPP is a constitutional position and his independence must be preserved at all times if he is to be perceived as fair and effective in carrying out his duties. We urge the government to respect the constitutional position of the DPP and refrain from giving the impression that he is a functionary of the executive,” Pierre said.
The South East MP also called on the government to leave the police force and the commissioner out of politics.
He said: “And with regards to day to day management of the police, the Saint Lucia Labour Party believes that there should be no political interference in the day to day workings of the police and that the commissioner should be allowed the freedom to conduct police operations in a professional and non-partisan manner.”
The SLP party leader however agreed with the government that the level of crime and crime detection in Saint Lucia is unacceptable, but he told the current administration to do more.
“We call on the government to take leadership in the fight against crime and make available adequate resources to the police. While necessary, the police communications unit is not sufficient capital investment to fight crime in this fiscal year,” Pierre said while saluting members of the police force, the majority of whom, he said, “do their best in a challenging working environment to keep us safe”.
The police recorded 60 homicides in 2017, the highest in the country’s history. This is compared to 31 recorded in 2016.
Six homicides have been recorded so far in 2018.