By Caribbean News Global contributor
VIEUX FORT, St Lucia – “Bullets don’t fall from the sky” said a source in response to Caribbean News Global (CNG) article, following a secure walkout by the minister for finance, economic development, and the youth economy and minister for justice and national security, Philip J Pierre, last Monday.
Subsequently, where are the bullets for these guns on the streets of Vieux Fort and Saint Lucia at large, coming from?
- The Bahamas to hold ‘US gun manufacturers accountable’
- US Senate Judiciary chair request GAO probe into trafficking of US-origin firearms to Caribbean
Firearms and bullets
The same can be said for the quality and volume of guns that are easy to purchase, rent, and own legal and illegal, in Saint Lucia.
A previous comment from a “Gangster – bad boy retorts, I don’t know where my next meal is coming from, I am unemployed, but I have bullet’s in my pocket.”
Perhaps, it matters not that the authorities are contented with not-knowing the origin of guns and bullets, less of course, may be required to disclose from within, the framework of state apparatus that exposes select businesses, political affiliates and the underworld.
But instead, the authorities are content to ask questions that they are required to provide answers for.
- Where are the guns and bullets coming from?
- Has the government endeavored an audience with local gun and ammunition traders/importers? What is the current inventory/listing of legal firearms and bullets on the island?
- What has happened to the multiple seizures of guns and ammunition, including the latest?
Frequently, the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, (RSLPF) posts notices and formal charges for the offences of discharging a firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition.
In most cases, bail is granted and this may very be the last time one hears – as this would likely not yield results for years as “investigations continue”.
There is also the spectacle after a police operation where firearms and ammunition were recovered followed by the cliché: “No one was arrested for possession of the recovered items, however, an investigation is ongoing.”
Firearms and bullets are accessories for personal and business requiring protection. Guns and bullets are also clear enablers of drug trafficking, “so-called fishermen”, gang violence and most types of crime.
The distinction must be observed. And the appointment of the firearms and licencing board ought not to be a regular construct of a government control institution, but an independent arm, solely of the national security apparatus/council of the state.
The frequency of homicides and gunplay on the island has also led to many questions including: Why has there not been substantial forensic ballistics – attached to the Forensic Lab at Tapon?
Experience dictates that ballistic fingerprints, can test-fire a suspect’s gun, and then compare the marks on the crime scene bullet and contrast the two. The same can be done for cartridge cases.
In the case of St Lucia police officer down in the peril of national security, further questions pursue:
- Is the investigation completed concerning the type and source of the gun and bullets?
- Were the gun and bullets legal, illegal, or from a friendly international source assigned for national security?
- Is it the acceptance that Saint Lucians are all ballistic dummies, acceptable to gun wounds, with no resolution?
On the other hand, no amount of platitudes and patronage from indecisive politicians, weak leaders social programs, and public relations stunts will suffice, specific to Vieux Fort.
Also, no amount of a march of solidarity from the clergy, or religious other Christian denominations can upend the magnitude of hypocrisy and self-aggrandizement of persons that are the real progression of the Vieux Fort problem.
‘Our reporting must blame the criminal’, says Pierre:
At a press briefing, Tuesday, April 11, 2023, the minister for finance, economic development, and the youth economy and minister for justice and national security, Philip J Pierre, explained:
“I think the police, they tell me, are trying their best. The police, most of them are committed to the cause. So I am not going to blame the police and I think we have to stop this blame game. We have to blame the criminals. All of us must begin to blame the criminals,” Pierre asserted. “Our reporting must blame the criminal. We mustn’t look for all kinds of excuses – particularly those who try to use political excuses.”
Commentor Alvino April 12, 2023 At 6:27 pm, writes:
“Rightly said Mr PM, we have to blame the criminals but let me remind you that the criminals are in all echelons of society but it seems like the ones at the end are the ones to be blamed. Those in high society are never caught ( I wonder why). I blame successive governments for this crime. I am not saying that crime will not happen but when systems are not put in place in the primary and secondary schools to help the young ones and their families then all is lost. When they grow up then they become the same criminals we blaming now. Politics has killed our society.”
RSLPF not fit for purpose
It is no secret that Saint Lucia’s national security and RSLPF are not fit for purpose. Crime prevention and management are severely lacking, and despite the government’s best efforts in training, equipment and personnel, there can be no excuses for the ministry of justice and national security’s ineffectiveness.
The basic concept is such that national security is primary to the function of any government and state. The excuses and public relations stunts are zero-sum games to mitigate a changing environment.
The deadly gun violence in Vieux Fort runs deep. The drug trade is systemic. Money laundering is evident in what is considered business and commerce. The judicial system is lost in the equation to “wipe out criminality.”
Meanwhile, the Correctional Services Welfare Association and the Bordelais Correctional Facility is the next hotspot, facing outstanding issues of staffing, equipment, vehicles, concessions and financial allocations, “that is not likely until 2025,” said a source.
Meanwhile, the political system thrives in this mess – the country and people are left to fend for themselves.