" SVG IS IN A STATE OF CRISIS" Says St Vincent Opposition

Photo Grab Youtube Opposition Leader Dr Godwin Friday

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: OCTOBER 16th 2018
CRIME! NOW THE POLICE? ……. SVG IS IN A STATE OF CRISIS
 

Once again the Vincentian public is waking up to the news of another shooting incident on the morning of Sunday 14 October in Paul’s Avenue where three persons received bullet wounds and a fourth was killed. This fatality brings our homicide toll to 25.   

As more crimes are committed and the resources and expertise of the police are stretched, it would appear that members of that organization are resorting to extrajudicial punishment to garner information from suspects.

We do hope however, that this is not as a result of the Minister of National Security’s pronouncement that the police are not to recite the beatitudes to suspects.

As the NDP continues to call on the police to expedite investigations and the arrest of offenders it would appear that the latter are now caught up in their own crisis, which, if not already doing so, can distract them from their mission, as reports assail the media of extrajudicial punishment by the police in general.

We have had reports in the past of police beatings and general abuse to the point where accused were hospitalized and where police officers were convicted in a court of law.

In one incident, much to the public’s dismay, convicted officers were returned to duty as police officers. Now, there are accusations being levelled at the Commissioner of Police, the very head of the Service, for personally beating an accused with a baton causing him severe injuries.

Extrajudicial punishment is against the law in St Vincent and the Grenadines and the New Democratic Party condemns any and all such actions, unreservedly.

The police cannot in their frustration over the increasing crime rate and their apparent inability to contain it, resort to beating and abusing the very public they are sworn to protect. This is a country of laws and no one individual can be judge, jury and executioner.

As if the foregoing were not enough, the Commissioner of Police is now accused of sexual assault by a junior member of the very institution he heads. While the NDP hold that each person is innocent until proven guilty, we nonetheless question the fact that while the Commissioner is being investigated he remains in office.

It is the right thing to conduct an investigation into the accusation levelled, however, justice must not only be done it must seem to be done and while the Commissioner may undoubtedly be a man of integrity, it says little of him and the Ministry of National Security, if he remains in office during this investigation.

What is also worrying is that the Speaker of the House, Mr. Jomo Thomas, in his weekly article in one of the country’s weekly publications, asserted to the possibility of extrajudicial killings.

To date the public is yet to know if Mr. Thomas was asked to produce the evidence to support this accusation and further if an investigation was launched to determine the veracity of that accusation.

Contrary to established standards, the Minister of National Security and the Commissioner of Police have not made a public statement with regards to such an egregious statement that has the potential to negatively impact this country’s international standing.

The reality today is that the Minister of National Security is yet to come to terms with the fact that his disrespectful dismissal of the Vincentian people’s fears only serves to worsen those fears and feed the crisis that already exist. He has failed to produce the promised war on crime and the causes of crime, just as he has failed to introduce integrity legislation, to say nothing of the creation of a consultative democracy.  Clearly, Dr. Gonsalves and the ULP have lost touch with the reality of the Vincentian people’s lives and cannot adequately provide the governance needed to take us out of this crisis.

As crime and violence continue to spiral out of control under the apparent indifference of the the Minister of National Security, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, the NDP is proposing a Smart on Crime strategy as we cannot police or incarcerate crime away.

We have expressed our willingness to work with the government and other organizations to address the problem, and we submit that a Smart on Crime approach, which requires a collaborative and united national effort can be the only way forward to effectively combat the national crisis of crime and violence in SVG.

The present militaristic approach has failed, and it continues to alienate the police from the very citizens they have sworn to protect. Evidence suggests it has already created a climate in which some individuals and communities are as much afraid of the police as they are of the criminals.

Smart on Crime will see the police applying research and best practices in developing appropriate crime fighting and prevention strategies and leading a crime prevention coalition which will include all sectors of society; drawing on the resources of civil society, communities and the business sector as they become integrated into a national crime prevention and crime fighting partnership to create a better SVG for all.

We again implore anyone with information that might assist the police in their investigations to provide it to the police. 

We call on the police to redouble their efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice, and resolve other unsolved violent crimes in our country, and to respect and protect the rights of Vincentians as they do so.

We call on the Vincentian people to be strong and resolute in this time of crisis, hold fast to your foundational Christian beliefs, do not lose hope in humanity and yourselves as a people. Remember there is always a calm after the storm.

3 Comments

  1. We can expect C Ben David to attack this message as he does with everything that has anything to do with the NDP. He will criticize all the major things about the ULP such as the Airport, (the biggest financial fiasco in the history of the country) but at the same time tell us how great the ULP is.
    Godwin Friday is right to make this statement. It only addresses the elements of the present government that allows crime to flourish. Related is economics, an area where Godwin Friday runs Ralph Gonsalves into the ground.

  2. Many of us in SVG have mentioned that the police are almost as criminal as the criminals themselves. Our young officers are encouraged by the older officers to beat people in custody. So the tradition continues. The most cruel officers get promoted. I have known many police and beating people in custody is almost standard procedure. I have often heard of the alleged extrajudicial killings done by the police but such a subject is uncomfortable to talk about. How do we expect to reduce crime, especially violent crime when the police set such an example?
    Godwin Friday is correct! Our police have gone to the “Dark Side”. In my opinion they are just the most powerful criminal gang backed by the power of the state. No one respects them as we should. It will take great resources and years to purge the police force of all the corrupt and criminal elements but it is not going to happen anytime soon, as long as those elements support the “right” political party. God help us!

  3. It would appear that Friday and the NDP are unceremoniously manipulating this crime situation and other similar issues in this country in an effort to try and sway the minds of Vincentian voters, in this precarious fashion that could eventually backfire, leaving them holding the shitty end of the stick. As a consequence they themselves might become suspect, casting their part in a bad light and not the intended targets, the minister of national security and the government.
    Quite a few Vincentians are beginning to ask questions as to “their” role in cozying up to a number of criminal elements in this society, in a way unbecoming of elected ministers who show no scruples in going public, informing us that they themselves have had close relations and conversations with these criminal elements and a number of gang members before.
    In one such conversation at one of their Press Conferences, an NDP minister is telling us that a gang member says to him “…look the only reason I ain’t killing [is] because ah ain’t have money to buy bullet yo know…yo ha ten ($10) or($20) twenty dollars to lend me so ah could buy two bullets…” And in the same breath he, the minister says “…you can hear people say, you can buy a gunman for as little as forty ($40) dollars…”
    Hence, these, and there are many more such stories, are some of the things we hear coming from the opposition side. And as I pointed out before in the case of Friday and others using this and similar crisis in a fashion akin to sloganizing, like in the case of “SVG is in a state of crisis” or allegations of “Police and extrajudicial killings”, manipulating these events in an attempt to accelerate a quick return to power, these despicable actions only serve to anesthetize the minds of the Vincentian people so they wouldn’t think for themselves. Unfortunately these tactics like those other scandalous and scaremongering ones that came and went before simply will not work again, and will fail because of the NDP’s terrible historical and political record, their encouraging attitude towards criminal actions and notwithstanding their past and present behaviors in this respect.

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