Add two more names to the growing list of murders in St Lucia this year. This weekend was supposed to be the crowning jewel of the St Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival, which had already been applauded for it’s high profile fashion extravaganza and quality performances over the course of the two week spectacle. Instead the festivities were bookended by reports of crime.
On Friday, 27-year-old Precious Ambrose of Patience, Mon Repos died from a neck injury, sustained during a disagreement with another individual, who has since been taken into custody. The expected Jazz debriefing became a post mortem of another kind on Monday when news broke that 32-year-old Sheldon Alvin Lewis was found stabbed to death at his residence in Leslie Land, Castries. There have been no arrests made.
These two incidents are just the latest in a series of murders on the island in 2013. In mid-January Danley Leon, a 25-year-old Corinth resident, died from stab wounds incurred after engaging in an altercation. In February, police were met with a gruesome scene when they discovered the body of 47-year-old Simone Leandra Garnier near her home in Bisee. Garnier’s throat had been slashed and her legs bound together. Later that month, Dennery resident Nathan Uria Stanisclas succumbed to his injuries after being stabbed during an argument. March brought yet another stabbing, when 49-year-old Annie Fortune of Conway, Castries was attacked by another female.
April ushered in the high-profile murder of Reduit native Krystal Felix, a popular fixture on the St Lucian scene. The 22-year-old was gunned down at the Auberge Seraphine parking lot after returning from a boat ride on Easter Monday. Nathan Duncan of Grass Street is currently being held in connection with Felix’s death. Later that month, the lifeless body of 61-year-old Tita Wilfred was recovered from an abandoned building in the Vieux-Fort area. Her head appeared to have been smashed. And in a case almost too gory to believe, the partially decomposing body of 41-year-old Winston Brown of Rodney Bay was found stuffed in a refrigerator with several wounds to the hands and head.
Earlier this year, the Royal St Lucia Police Force held a press conference to report that detection of crime was on the rise and the murder rate had been steadily declining since 2010. Last year 37 murders were reported, a drop from the 39 and 44 cases in 2011 and 2010 respectively.
Acting Sergeant of Police in the Central Intelligence Unit Kimroy Renee touched on a disturbing trend that has become an undeniable cause of concern for the department— increased incidences of sharp objects being used as the weapon of choice among criminals.
“We’re still recording high numbers of incidents where sharp knives, sharp objects, cutlasses are used in committing crimes like murders and this is one of the approaches that the police force wants to take, a zero tolerance approach, to persons being in possession of such weapons and not being able to justify why they carry such weapons,” he said.
When contacted for a tally of the numbers to date this year, officers were cagey and expressed that they were not at liberty to disclose such information. As we went to press, the police press relations department provided confirmation that the island’s homicide rate stands at 10 so far for 2013.