‘Operation Restore Confidence’ underway

A convoy of police vehicles, sirens blazing, sped through the city’s streets on Wednesday February 16 around 9:30am.  Chaussee road was cordoned off by motorcycle police from the Traffic Department from the North/South Gas Station to the traffic lights at the corner of Chaussee Road/Jeremie Street.  Parts of the road parallel to Chaussee, Chisel Street, were also cordoned off.  The corners of Chisel/High Street and Chisel /St Louis Street were inaccessible to the public.  The entrance from Morne Du Don into Castries was also blocked.
The area of the police’s focus? Wilton’s Yard formerly known as the Graveyard.   As the STAR reached the scene, reporters were met with hostility by some residents who claimed the media is being unfair in helping to label Wilton’s Yard as a hot spot.  On the flip side, others were supporting the police action but disagreed with the weapons the cops brandished.
From one end of Chaussee Road to the other was littered with police officers from various departments.  The most noticeable fixture was that of a gold pick up van parked between Courts and Roses.  On the back of the van stood a single member of the Special Services Unit scanning the area while an officer covered from head to toe in black, not an inch of skin visible, complete with a black ski mask, balanced a fifty caliber high powered rifle on sand bags.  The rifle was leveled at an unseen target along the Morne Du Don Road.
News began circulating of one death by police hands on that day.  However, it would later be revealed that police shot two men.  Twenty-year-old  Dane Augustin alias Cyborg of Morne Du Don, Castries was shot in the leg.  Twenty-four-year-old Shem Peter, also of Morne Du Don, sustained a gunshot wound.  The two men are nursing their injuries at Victoria Hospital.
The police raid, dubbed Operation Restore Confidence, lasted over four hours.  There was no access into or out of the area for that time.  Homes were raided and according to the police, several live rounds of ammunition and spent shells, drugs and ski masks were recovered.
Reporters on the scene can confirm at least four persons were taken into custody on that day—a middle aged woman, an elderly man, a teenage boy and a man who appeared to be in his twenties.
One resident who spoke to the STAR asked not to be identified said, “You feel those fellas should be allowed to do that?  They can’t just come into man yard just so.  It’s not right.  It’s not fair.  Look at everybody just standing on the street.  Where are we supposed to go while they mess up our homes?  What are we supposed to do?”
Another told reporters, “That’s what you all have to report.  Report on how we are being treated like animals.  Why is us that are labeled as criminals?  How is us that have to be inconvenienced?”
At that moment, a traffic officer approached the crowd and shouted: “Move! You cannot stand there.”
Some residents exuded hostility.  The officer responded, “Move or I will move you.”  The crowd dispersed.  Businesses were shut for the day along the aforementioned streets.  Subsequently police revealed the operation has been dubbed “Operation Restore Confidence” and will be conducted throughout the island.  The objective is to identify the criminal elements and confiscate illegal weapons, drugs and items suspected of having been unlawfully obtained.

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