STATEMENT ON THE CURRENT CRIME SITUATION IN SAINT LUCIA
By Honourable Dr. Robert K. Lewis – Parliamentary Representative for Castries South
SLP Spokesman on Crime & National Security
December 22, 2010
Fellow citizens of Saint Lucia at home and overseas, it gives me no joy whatsoever to have to address you on the crippling crime situation in our country. The current Government came to office promising to take a tough stance against crime, and in particular, to bring the murder rate down. However, we are witnessing a new record with some forty six (46) murders for the year so far. This represents a stunning rebuke of Prime Minister Stephenson King’s rhetoric on crime, and a recognition that the Government’s crime fighting strategy has failed.
It is worthy of note, that under the watch of Prime Minister Stephenson King some of the most gruesome criminal activities have taken place in our country. This includes the shooting and attempted murder of a Magistrate, the killing of two (2) Police Officers, the multiple execution style murders in Vanard, the bloody gangland multiple murders of Anse La Raye and the latest senseless murder of Castries businesswoman, Mrs Vanita Murpuri affectionately known as Mama. Mama’s brutal and premature death is a sad commentary on the state of crime in our country. The Government, therefore, cannot afford to ignore the deep social issues associated with crime.
Prime Minister King and his Cabinet seem to believe that they are the sole repositories of wisdom on fighting crime. Time and time again, the Government has rejected calls from the Opposition for a joint Parliamentary approach to dealing with the crime issue. I have myself on occasion stood as a lone voice urging the Government to have a full Parliamentary session on crime, only to be greeted by a wall of silence from the Prime Minister and his colleagues. I continue to believe that fighting crime is not a partisan issue and needs to be a collaborative approach that engages all sectors of our society Obviously, the Stephenson King administration does not believe this, yet has absolutely no response to crime, unlike the Saint Lucia Labour Party which has a plan that was being implemented while in office and which will be fine tuned before it returns to the seat of government. Additionally, there seem a disturbing closeness between prominent members of the criminal underworld and certain members of the UWP government ... a situation which may very well be providing these elements with a sense of protection from the ruling party and which helps to embolden them.
Today the Government’s irresponsibility has caught up with them and regrettably it is the Saint Lucian people who are paying the price. Hundreds of families have lost loved ones, many of whom were breadwinners or potential breadwinners. Those left behind are now left to struggle even more to make ends meet, but our Government has shown no genuine concern for the cries of the people. Some citizens are now locked up in their homes afraid to go out while others are fearful of working night and walking the streets late. That state of fear is a direct consequence of our Government’s failure to act appropriately, properly and decisively to arrest the growing crime rate.
So there is no point in the Prime Minister talking tough for public relations purposes but doing nothing to stop illegality by his Cabinet and Party colleagues. Saint Lucians have heard the Prime Minister make tough pronouncements on how he intends handling crime and other illegalities before. Example is the greatest teacher especially from our leaders; but if our Governmental leaders are poor examples, then, our children will value and learn the wrong things. Our young people must see and discern congruence between what is said and what is practiced by our leaders. The Prime Minister has not been tough on, or taken action against, any of his colleagues who have been chastised for illegality or found wanting by the courts, Therefore, the criminal elements in our country do not take him seriously. Prime Minister King should stop playing to the cameras and get real. Prime Minister King needs to set the example by taking the appropriate action against those in his Government who have broken the laws of the country.
The time for action is overdue. The prime minister must respond to the crime situation with the utmost urgency, not in words only but being decisive in his actions. We must hold him to his words. We cannot continue to talk tough. It is time for action!
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