- The Regional Security System [RSS] re-deployed in St Lucia for the second time in ten months
- New legislation will be enacted to deal with the suppression of crime.
By Caribbean News Global contributor
VIEUX – FORT, St Lucia – It is not by accident that Vieux Fort is the epicentre of drug trafficking, gang warfare and the insanity of recurrent mass murders. Distinctively, Vieux Fort and Vieux Fortians can stop the insanity, however, the de-industrialization of Vieux Fort has permeated ‘decades of neglect and socio-economic castration.’ History will hold those accountable for the southern corridor of the island.
Last year July, the government introduced legislation to cause stiffer penalties for illegal firearm and ammunition possession and to equip the judiciary with the legal tools to put away perpetrators – the offenders have simply paid up and moved on.
The RSS was on the island last year, what was the result? Crime and violence have gotten worse!
The politically correct scripts, weak security operations and crafted media appearances are detached in scope and effectiveness to “stress the importance of collaboration between law enforcement and residents.”
Vieux Fort has become what was served to the community by politicians, political loyalists, community leaders, concerned citizens and the so-called liberal elites.
An examination of the political, social and economic representation of Vieux Fort tells the story of what currently exists.
The said accomplishments of Vieux Fort comprise a horrible ‘development plan’, physical planning, incompatible ideas, policy and application that have resulted from impractical leadership.
The results sadly coincide with socioeconomic issues, and as said on a campaign trail – Vieux Fort has become a bigger ghetto!
Most of the drug dealers and gang members responsible for the current insanity are very young adults, that grew up post-1997. Conversely, the ‘transformation of Vieux Fort has failed miserably,’ while those responsible get to keep their government jobs and a pension. Pathetic!
Successive governments must own up to the current insanity, arising from the strategies and networks that are now deadlocked, and responsible for the malaise that prevails in Vieux Fort. And by extension – throughout Saint Lucia.
Directly and indirectly, the government of the day must own up. And in this occurrence of the Lenten season, the leaders must act on their conscience, be contrite and repent for their most grievous harm done to Vieux Fort and Vieux Fortians.
“The Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, (RSLPF) is helpless. Meanwhile, policymakers and the government by extension are inadequate. And the expression of concern is meaningless,” The article concluded, “The only words that matter are – action and solutions! #CNG observed.
Delivering the national address early Saturday evening March 11, 2023, on the gang violence in Vieux Fort that claimed nine lives and other related injuries, Thursday, March 10 – March 11, 2023, minister for finance, economic development and the youth economy and minister for justice and national security, Philip J Pierre, said:
“I want to assure Saint Lucians that we continue to take the issue of gang warfare seriously. I want to thank the medical and security officials who respond to these tragedies with bravery and professionalism.
“ We are working with the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force and the community to restore peace. Our children, the residents, and citizens have the right to live and work safely anywhere in this country. Schools in Vieux Fort will re-open on Monday.”
Last Friday schools were closed. Businesses reported multiple interruptions in operation and services in the South of the island, resulting in multiple closures through Monday, in anticipation that the situation improves.
Outlining ‘actions being taken to curb Vieux Fort gang violence’, prime minister Pierre, reported:
“Saturday 11 March 2023, I met with the top officials of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, (RSLPF). The briefing focused on the carnage of the last 48 hours and the steps being taken to combat gang-related activities and retaliatory practices in the town of Vieux Fort.
“As of Thursday, March 9 to Saturday, March 11, seven localized homicides have been reported apparently in reprisals to the killing of a well-known individual. The RSLPF responded immediately and has been deployed and stationed within the community for over 48 hours.
“Sunday, March 12, 2023, I will meet some civil society and business leaders to discuss the current situation and seek solutions to the problems.”
Relative to the results of the action being taken, the prime minister reported that “ammunition and firearms have been retrieved and persons arrested due to the tactical work of the RSLPF.”
Further actions being taken include:
- The Regional Security System [RSS] and other assets have been contacted and will be on the ground early next week;
- 24-hour SSU patrol is being deployed;
- The police will be given more resources to assist in this upsurge of violence;
- Special operations will be conducted by the police;
- New legislation will be enacted to deal with the suppression of crime.
It is instructive to point out that the latter actions being taken are likely to serve as repeated irrelevance to deter the current drug and gang violence.
During his national address Saturday, prime minister Pierre announced that “the government will continue to provide support and resources to help the police restore peace,” stating “we must fight these criminal networks called gangs and encourage our young people to reject their lifestyle.”
He continued: “We are taking charge of the situation. We will succeed. We will build a safe and more secure society. I ask for the support and cooperation of the public as the police step up their operations, particularly in Vieux Fort.”
What preceded might seem to imply a power shift to regain the confidence of Vieux Fortians and a larger influence on the culture of Vieux Fort and the southern corridor of the island. But in reality, few will adapt, given their own proclivities and socio-economic needs. This can be alluding to deliberate weakness of national development and security anxieties.
Vieux Fort exposes the chasm of neglect, the politics of liberalism, loyalism and acolytes. The orthodoxy violates the economic and social development of people. The greater losers are Vieux-Fortians.
On a note of caution, collapsing civilizations have a commonality. There remains a cascading effect that is likely to evolve island-wide. History reflects that neither the RSS nor the increase in RSLPF presents is a deterrent. The justice system is comatose and Saint Lucia’s accession to CCJ can’t fix that!
Security is an islandwide concern
Then and now – an actual shift in the power of the people must be for a better part of the society, that does not genuflect to the culture of protecting regression.
It is futile to elect and protect politicians, and community leaders that are collectively woke leaders and expect what’s coming down the pipeline to be economic growth, opportunity and prosperity.
Security is problematic islandwide. To fore-warn, the gangs as to what is coming is transcendent of poor tactics, an ill-starred strategy and perhaps self-preservation. Meantime, the crime policy is void of strategic planning.
Vieux Fort is at a crossroads in the drug trade and gang warfare that many, including political leaders, are unwilling and yet to admit. Instead, the abnormal expressions “well-known individual” and “community leaders” are substituted.
Saint Lucians are fearful in the wake of multiple homicides, improperly characterized by politicians and church leaders as “senseless killings.”
The writings have been on the wall for decades and ignored for the sake of expediency. Now, more than ever, the legacy of politicians and governments are on the line. The wealth and safe capital of many – something surprising – have potential implications.
There are two defined paths, one tougher and the other mild. Yet, the silence is deafening!
“We will not let fear, envy and hatred divide us.We will stand together as Saint Lucians and work towards a brighter future for all,” said prime minister Pierre. “There will be some difficult decisions to be made. Some strong actions will be taken to deal with these cowards and criminals. This is our country and will prevail,” the prime minister concluded, responding to the events in Vieux-Fort.
A government source familiar with the culture and political prowess of Vieux Fort reiterated:
“To solve our security problems, the drug trade and gang warfare, exceptional measures need to be taken.
“We know how to get this crime situation under control. But hypocrisy in fighting crime in Saint Lucia has gone – a little too far.”