The purpose of this week’s Crime Symposium (held on Friday, November 24, 2017) was to gather ideas and suggestions from affected citizens and willing contributors to curb, prevent and manage crime in Saint Lucia. Attendees at the event included ministry officials, representatives from correctional facilities and the police force, youth councils and organisations, the Christian and Rastafari community, and the media, to name a few.
Minister of Home Affairs, Justice and National Security, Hermangild Francis made a guarantee that whatever useful recommendations emanated from Friday’s symposium would be reviewed and considered and then classified as short- or long-term implementations. Francis also encouraged stakeholders to hold him and his ministry accountable for feasible action.
Leader of Opposition Philip Pierre and Acting Prime Minister Guy Joseph made opening contributions at Friday’s affair, along with Commissioner of Police, Severin Monchery and Minister Hermangild Francis. They all shared concern over the unprecedented homicide rate, and Minster Joseph emphasized, “It’s incumbent upon all of us to obey the law of this country.”
From the initial discussion of attendees, the suggestions made were mainly: encourage the Ministry of Finance to provide sufficient funds for crime fighting and effective social transformation, implement after-school programmes, focus on the youth’s needs, reform the law, pray, and continue beefing up community police.
At press time, the Crime Symposium was only halfway through its scheduled agenda and the segment for group discussions and final submissions of suggestions was yet to occur. But Minister Francis was able to note that, so far, he thought the symposium was “going good”. He said, “I’m glad to be hearing all the suggestions and I want them to hold us accountable. People always think that ministers are repositories of information and I, myself, am going to speak later.”
Look out for an overall review in next weekend’s STAR.