PM: Restore St Lucia to good ole days!

Government officials, members of the media and students from several schools were on hand on Wednesday September 28th for the launch of the United Against Crime campaign. The initiative is a bold new approach to fighting crime in Saint Lucia that involves getting citizens more involved in the crime fighting process. The programme seeks to create direct linkages with the police and the public and educate St Lucians about how they can protect themselves from being victims of crime. The programme is also community and youth centered with sustainable ways of curbing crime.
As they were ushered into the Sandals ballroom members of the audience received brochures with information about the campaign as well as bookmarks, key rings and notepads all bearing the United Against Crime branding.
Chairing the launch was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs Esther Brathwaite who explained that the campaign was part of a crime-fighting strategy of the Home Affairs Ministry with the support of the Government of St Lucia.
The ceremony began with spirited prayers by Bishop Emmanuel Mc Loren, the Chairman of FAITH and Acting Chairman of CAPS.
“Crime affects the quality of life and no one wants to be a victim,” Mrs Brathwaite explained. “Our crime statistics show that there is a significant drop in criminal activity from January to August 2011. Notwithstanding that government has committed over the years to provide equipment and human resources to the Royal St Lucian Police Force and notwithstanding that Operation Restore Confidence has made a significant dent in the crime fighting activities on the ground the vision of this government is that we will reduce crime to a level of comfort where we no longer live in fear. The reality is that crime will never be wiped out, however, we are confident that reducing the threat of crime will go a long way in improving the quality of life for all citizens.”
UAC, said Mrs Brathwaite, is about building partnerships and collaborations. “We are excited about the programme which focuses on a campaign geared towards empowering communities and the youth. We want to attack the root of crime. The evidence is that a disproportionate number of crimes are performed by the youth. We need to deal with the issues of truancy and unsupervised youth after school and late at night. We need to take a special and creative interest ion the youth and we need to put measures in place to dissuade boys and more recently young girls from a life of crime. We must therefore embrace the faith-based organizations in our efforts and allow the private sector to play their role in the United Against Crime initiatives. The community and non-governmental organizations must also be given the opportunity to work with us. United Against Crime is everybody’s business.”
Following the Permanent Secretary’s introduction to the programme, Minister for Home Affairs and National Security, Guy Mayers, gave a breakdown of the efforts of the police force in curbing crime. The in depth presentation educated the audience about the state of crime using statistics, patterns and the way forward.
Said the Minister: “The complex and multi-dimensional nature of crime requires a multiplicity of interventions that are effectively coordinated
in order to achieve meaningful impact. National responses to crime cannot be piece meal and cannot work in isolation from other social development interventions. It is the recognition of crime as a major social development issue that has brought us to this forum here today. St Lucia needs to weave a new social fabric that is robust enough to withstand the stresses of rapid changes taking place in this liberalized and unregulated society. The constant disregard for law and order, the breakdown in family values, the lack of respect for authority, the wanton use of alcohol by minors, the indiscriminate violations of traffic regulations, the high tolerance of stealing from each other and the high level of domestic violence demonstrate a society in decay. We must do better as a society to get our citizens to act more responsibility. Crime prevention is the initiation of proactive, cost-effective measures to reduce the threat of crime or eliminate it all together. I daresay that crime prevention may very well be the only issue on which we find political consensus because we all perceive that safety and security are critical to our psychological functioning and overall wellbeing as a society.”
Senator Mayers called the launch of the UAC campaign “a historic occasion the quest to propel our country forward.”
He gave an overview of the objectives of his ministry and some important information about the causes of crime. In closing the Minister extended an invitation for all to unite against crime.
Following the Minister’s presentation Mrs Jacinta Annius-Lee, an active member of a neighbourhood watch group in the north,  read a poem about the UAC campaign.
The Prime Minister’s address then followed. Mr King spoke about unforgettable lessons he had been taught when it came to crime.
“Crime recognizes no political colours. Only potential victims, regardless of age or gender. Indeed, regardless of economic status,” King said. “Most of the murders had claimed the lives of young men barely out of their teens, people who could hardly be considered wealthy. Nevertheless, they were mindlessly gunned down in the street, sometimes in broad daylight, over school-yard arguments that might easily have been settled without violence. Of course, it is a truism often not recognized that when one person is murdered the effects are felt by dozens of other people, albeit faceless: relatives, friends, loved ones, mothers and fathers, children.”
The PM went on: “We are still a long, long way from reclaiming our streets and returning to a state of normalcy. On the other hand, we are nowhere near where we were just a few months ago, when there were reports of almost daily shootings, too many of them resulting in fatalities; when the citizenry barricaded themselves in their homes, too scared to venture out after sunset. Still, there needs to be done by the government and the people of this country a whole lot more, if we are to return to the good old days when we could relax in the most remote areas of our island, with a good book or with friends having a good time at the beach, whether in the sunlight or in the glorious light of a full moon. We were internationally famous once for the safety of our environment. With the help of all who live here, my government is confident we can restore Saint Lucia to the good old days.  It is with immeasurable pleasure, therefore, and with limitless faith in our people, that I now invite every man, woman and child, including our equally important friends in the opposition, to support me in launching our United Against Crime campaign.”
The audience was then introduced via a video presentation to the components of the United Against Crime effort. The campaign would feature five components which included reaching citizens via print media, TV and radio. The campaign also included using social networks, a research aspect and a youth campaign.

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