article from the Vincentian Newspaper published earlier this week highlights an
interesting experimental innovation in the administration of justice in the
Caribbean. Curfew instead of prison! But is it a strong enough deterrent for
potential criminal behaviour? Or is it simply a desperate rear guard action in
a society overwhelmed and overtaken by crime?
Youngsters are qualifying as criminals
Frederick Bruce-Lyle decided that “enough was enough” and “slammed his gavel
down” on two young Vincentian criminals, condemning them to a 5-year curfew between the
hours of 6:00pm and 5:00am. Indeed, his apparent intention was to send a strong “signal”
to the youth in St. Vincent, especially when he said, “Too many of our youngsters
are qualifying as criminals”.
the sentencing by Justice Bruce-Lyle maybe equated to a subtle form of “house arrest”,
it may also represent a smart and creative form of “imprisonment” which might well have
relevance to our present day circumstances. It is one that perhaps our very own
Magistrate Velon John might be inclined to test, especially after his "historic judgement" which ordered the public flogging of a convict on the square a few years ago. But the question is: Will Justice Bruce-Lyle’s experiment
work? Will it achieve its intended purpose?
it probably won’t work, especially in St. Lucia! Why? Most of our criminals seem
to belong to a “coward” species who are afraid of the dark. They go for their “kill”
in daring daylight using masks and guns. But Justice Bruce-Lyle experiment (or
similar creative sentencing measures) may worth a try.
the two neighbouring islands struggle in their fight to "beef up" their national
security, a new and extremely dangerous criminal angle is beginning to rear its
ugly head on the body of water joining them. It is putting a dark cloud
over the corridor between the two island neighbours and has raised serious concerns among some of our citizens. Unconfirmed reports
suggest an "ongoing war" between criminal elements from St. Lucia
and Vincent over the use of large sums of counterfeit money. It is alleged that
St. Lucians use counterfeit money as payment for their “drug debts” to
development has led to curious questions: Where in St. Lucia is counterfeit
money produced? And who are the members of that counterfeit ring? It shouldn’t
be difficult for the police to figure that out and to begin closing in on the
potential offenders before the problem assumes monstrous proportions!
suggest that illegal underground trade between those two OECS sister
territories has been going on for a long time now! Many believe that St.
Vincent has now become a major source market for high grade cannabis cultivated in hills overlooking
Sandy beach in the north of St. Vincent is also a depository for stolen goods
and counterfeit money.
sources suggest that the trade - which at one at one point also encompassed neighbouring
Martinique - had a triangular configuration; but while our Marine Police and
French Authorities have significantly scaled down on the magnitude and
frequency of activities along the St. Lucia-Martinique channel and have also literally
neutralised trade along the hypotenuse of the triangle, we have not been equally
successful in the extremely lucrative corridor between St. Lucia and St.
Vincent. It even seemed to have escaped US “state of the art” security surveillance
equipment designed specifically for detection of those illegal activities.
Powerhouse got a comprehensive insight into the operations of “triangle” as far
back as 4 years ago when a bold robber in broad daylight burglarized our premises
in Castries. When he was subsequently caught by the brave “vigilantes for
justice” from the neighbourhood and forced to divulge information, their nature
of the operations his ring’s became “pellucidly clear”. We found out that our notebook
computer and other electronic items which were stolen from our premises were temporarily
stored at a hidden location in Ti Rocher (Castries) and subsequently “exported”
to St. Vincent and exchanged for drugs.
counterfeit dimension has added a dangerous layer; and it may be about to
explode. Indeed, some collateral damage is now being reported, as there are
reports of missing St. Lucians along the St. Vincent-St. Lucia corridor and it
is attributed to the operations of the ring.
Drugs and terrorism
I applaud the effort of Justice Bruce-Lyle, I am also of the
opinion that we need to do more – a lot more before its too late. Counterfeiting
and the drug trade are inextricably linked to terrorism and we need new multidisciplinary
methodologies, new “counter-terrorism” measures to
tackle those problems. In fact, it may
be the right time to redefine terrorism to include the illegal drug trade (and
counterfeiting) for it is perhaps the worst terrorist problem confronting the
human race, slowly but surely destroying us and the moral fabric of society.
current anti-drug and counterfeiting laws seem to be lagging behind and must be
updated and strengthened. We may not have the capabilities to neutralize those
illegal forces who by virtue of their involvement in the drug trade may
have international terrorist ties but we can enlist support from the RSS, CIA
and INTERPOL! IT’S TIME TO GET SERIOUS!
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