Criminal Masterminds Beware!

Following a spate of violent and gun related murders there has not been much coming from the government in terms of reassuring the public that we are not heading on another downward spiral when it comes to crime. In fact both the Opposition and Government have been very quiet on the issue. Wouldn’t it be great if we could have a united approach to solving crime? What if our leaders came up with a campaign that called on all St Lucians to unite in the fight, with them leading the charge? Four murders in one weekend has indeed left citizens on edge and the police resources are stretched. On top of that a public fearful or unwilling to come forward as witnesses has made police investigations even more challenging. This week the nation’s Justice Minister has decided to speak up about the latest murders. In an interview with HTS news Victor Phillip La Corbiniere said that crime can only be quelled if we aim for the top. HTS reported that the minister said the government “is moving to tackle those who orchestrate mayhem on the nation’s streets” while adding that the minister suggested that “the triggermen roaming the streets are mere underlings who answer to people with clout in the seedy criminal underworld.” “Very often there are people higher up in the chain who are informing the process,” said La Corbiniere, as if he were sharing information that wasn’t already well known in this small isle of ours. He went on: “So what you see as gang violence on the streets is informed very often by people higher up in that gang chain and very often these people are sitting in their comfortable houses in certain areas enjoying a glass of wine and pretending to be businessmen or other things . . . “It has to be that we begin to say to those up the line, there is no room for you in St Lucia to pedal your drug activities anymore because we are not going to tolerate you up the line causing trouble in the community—be it an increase in violent crime, be it undermining the system through corruption and other means. We have to be prepared to say that we are not prepared to tolerate it . . . Are we going to continue to say let’s get hold of the shooter? Yes, we must get hold of the shooter but we must also get hold of the person who is sitting in his comfortable chain and directing up the chain what is happening in terms of the shootings and the drug activities in the country. We must do that.” The HTS report said that the government intends to take tough decisions to “deal with the criminal masterminds.” La Corbiniere said the process of weeding out the higher-ups in the crime food chain involved extensive intelligence gathering. La Corbiniere’s statements certainly sound good but he leaves us with several questions. How can the police go after “criminal masterminds” when they have such difficulty finding witnesses to crimes that happen in broad daylight or with hundreds of people around? Has our Justice Minister looked at the unsolved case files lately? The statement from the minister was also very sketchy on details. The time frame for instituting change, judging from what was said in the report, seems to be in “the next few years.” I would not expect the minister to divulge sensitive information but was giving a broad idea of what the government plans to do to catch criminal masterminds too much to ask?

Philip La Corbiniere says the government is looking at those highest up in the crime food chain.

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