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HomeNewsCaribbean NewsThe war in Ukraine is impacting St Lucia

The war in Ukraine is impacting St Lucia

By Caribbean News Global contributor

VIEUX-FORT, St Lucia – Saint Lucia now confronts a challenge arising from the war in Ukraine on the heels of Thursday’s homicide in Denney, and the double homicide in Vieux-Fort, most unfortunate, while the island celebrated Independence 45 – residents describe gunfire and artillery “like a scene for the war in Ukraine.”

The right to bear arms is a legal right for people to possess weapons (arms) for the preservation of life, liberty, and property. Stand Your Ground laws allow anyone who believes their life to be in danger to use lethal force in an act of self-defence, completely removing the duty to retreat in a public space.

The Right to Bear Arms and Stand Your Ground laws are not applicable in Saint Lucia.

“Violent crime, including gun violence, has increased over the past year, particularly in Vieux Fort.” This cannot continue in the interest of economic viability, regional and international reputations.

Compounding the severity of violence and crime impacting Saint Lucia is a small open island economy, highly dependent on tourism. Economic growth is vital. Volatile, extensive uncertainty and economic averages below 3.5 percent are not encouraging for development prospects.

Gang bangers, thugs and lawless youths carry out Saint Lucia’s escalated crime and homicides, with an unconscionable disregard for civilian life. The security challenges that policymakers face are consistent with ‘hiding from reality in a world of hypocrisy’ while St Lucia’s killing fields continues.

The situation of the low ebb in national security does not need redemption, rebranding, or a saviour, but as previously explained – cessation of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF), and new reforms (legislation, finance, training, equipment) needed to rebuild.

Realist February 23, 2024 At 7:46 am, writes: “What will it take for law enforcement personnel to crack down on this nonsense in St Lucia? The government need to do what they are afraid of doing. Bring in law enforcement personnel from outside to oversee the police force. Too many of our police officers seem to be in bed with criminals in Saint Lucia.”

This also includes the acknowledgement and transformation to the realism that:

 “…There will be no peace in Vieux-Fort South, …”

“ … Crime is big business in Saint Lucia and it is driven by people who are way up in the hierarchy of this country …”

“The crime problem in Saint Lucia is facilitated by corrupt politicians/government officials, business persons and police officers.”

In response to reports considering new actions to stop the carnage, the excuse that the violence is reprisal killings and that Saint Lucia is not alone in the region struggling with rising violence – won’t hoodwink Saint Lucians. It matters naught! The situation requires taking action and producing results in a small island nation. The freedom of the people and the economic viability of the country are at stake.

Saint Lucia serves as a transit hub for South American traffickers’ illegal trade to the US and Europe – manipulating the St Vincent, Martinique and Saint Lucia triangle. Hewanorra International Airport is in Vieux-Fort.

“Beyond a doubt, the situation in Vieux-Fort Town is unacceptable and requires decisive action by all concerned,” Member of parliament for Vieux-Fort South, Kenny Dr Anthony, stated, declaring that the gangs must be disarmed for peace to return to the community.

“[…] It cannot be right or acceptable that Vieux Fortians are unable to roam their town freely,” Dr Anthony said. He also engaged the police to get a sense of their response strategies and to determine whether there are any hindrances which require intervention or direction on the executive level. ~ November 2021.

Minister for National Security, Philip Pierre has explained that “the police have all the powers within the law to bring an end to the situation. All the powers within the law and the observance of human rights of individuals,” adding. “We have given the police more resources than the last government gave for the last five years in power.”

Titles identify roles and responsibilities within an organization. Ministerial titles signify a person’s [professional] role in making and implementing decisions and policies. Titles can impact who you collaborate with and can indicate how credible someone is and how much authority he/she has.

To counter lawlessness requires a serious show of action (operational execution) and policy, not simply moving the goalposts once again. Even less clear is to be involved in yet another potential misadventure.

The arbiters of policy and rational thought are of the narrative that Saint Lucia is weak in national security.

Thus considered, the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) of CARICOM, three former Caribbean prime ministers, comprises former prime ministers, Bruce Golding of Jamaica, Perry Christie of The Bahamas, and Dr Kenny Anthony of Saint Lucia, amid criminal activity in Vieux-Fort.

The blowout for most people is to get their heads around 75 homicide cases reported (2022 & 2023) and 17 homicides (countless injuries burdening the health care system) in Saint Lucia as of February 23, 2024. And the carnage that ensued a second successive independence celebration. Four homicides in 2023 and three homicides in 2024.

St Lucia murder/homicide rate 1990-2024

Intentional homicides are estimates of unlawful homicides purposely inflicted as a result of domestic disputes, interpersonal violence, violent conflicts over land resources, intergang violence over turf or control, and predatory violence and killing by armed groups. Intentional homicide does not include all intentional killing; the difference is usually in the organization of the killing. Individuals or small groups usually commit homicide, whereas killing in armed conflict is usually committed by fairly cohesive groups of up to several hundred members and is thus usually excluded.

      • Saint Lucia murder/homicide rate for 2021 was 38.96, a 34.3 percent increase from 2020.
      • Saint Lucia murder/homicide rate for 2020 was 29.01, a 12.63 percent increase from 2019.
      • Saint Lucia murder/homicide rate for 2019 was 25.76, a 23.84 percent increase from 2018.
      • Saint Lucia murder/homicide rate for 2018 was 20.80, a 24.8 Saint Lucia decline from 2017.

Data Source: World Bank

Saint Lucia has a notable crime problem which persists. The government needs a working arrangement to crack down on lawlessness and violent crime:

      • A new police service;
      • A national security council;
      • Policing best practices, expertise and management;
      • Collaboration on intelligence, surveillance, cyber security, and data protection to make Saint Lucia secure;
      • Marine security: Shared commitment for close cooperation to make borders safer;
      • Shoring up airports and seaports;
      • Operational and policy response to organized crime;
      • Deployment of drones and security apparatus
      • Operational and technical cooperation, with the US, France, UK and Canada.

Further evidence-based approaches to address offending behaviours are driven by well-being, economic, social and leadership. The exacerbation of crime in Saint Lucia can slow economic recovery and diminish the quality of life.

An open mind and framework influence insights. Serious discussions on domestic and regional security cooperation and global security developments are pertinent to advancement.

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