Police in Saint Lucia continue to grapple with gun and drug related crimes in Saint Lucia. In 2013 there were 173 firearms related cases and 470 drug related cases. The marine unit also had to contend with a high number of incidents on the high seas involving contraband with Cannabis, Cocaine and Conch sharing the greatest percentage. Summary offences (8106) and crime against persons (4651) had the greatest percentages on a pie chart presented by the RSLPF during their 2013 review on crime, in February. But, despite a reduction in homicides in 2013, lawmen here say that they are still grappling with a number of issues with regar to criminals. The ages of some of the criminals involved in the more violent crimes in 2013 is also a cause for concern. But two months into the year and already the trend of an increase in crime involving young persons appears to be continuing.
The much publicized murder of British national Roger Pratt while on vacation here saw four young men all in their teens being arrested and charged with the crime. They are all from the area of Bruceville in Vieux Fort which was the scene of a brazen daylight shooting incident just two weeks ago.
Just yesterday morning, Friday, February 28, a 15 year old student along with a 40 year old man was arrested after a search warrant was executed at a residence in Blackstars, Morne Dudon.
According to police, at about 5:00 a.m. on Friday, officers attached to the Criminal Investigations Department, continued their operations in the Morne Dudon community which has been an area experiencing a number of gun related incidents in the past few months.
During a search of a dwelling house in the area Friday, officers recovered a .32 revolver with 5 rounds of ammunition and a quantity of dry plant material suspected to be cannabis. A total of 500 marijuana seedlings were also destroyed from that property.
The two occupants of the premises, the teenager and the forty-year old, were arrested and taken into custody. There is no indication as to the connection between the boy and the man.
The frightening part of all this is that the young criminal minds appear to be more daring lately. On the eve of the island’s independence, five young men were arrested for unlawfully gaining entry into the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force Marine Unit pound. They had made their daring and brazen entry by cutting into the fence in the wee hours of the morning on Friday February 21, 2014.
The suspects were at the time attempting to steal scooters that were impounded by the police. Their ages ranged from 17 to 24. During the foiled robbery attempt the thieves were confronted by officers attached to the Marine Unit and three suspects sustained gunshot wounds to the lower part of the body. Since then four of the five individuals involved in this incident have been charged. The fifth is still admitted at Victoria Hospital nursing a gunshot wound. He is expected to be charged at a later date.
While the police continue to bask in their success stories of crime detection and apprehension, the island continues to fail miserably when it comes to rehabilitating juvenile offenders. The Boys Training Center at Massade (built eons ago for that purpose) continues to be ignored by administration after administration. The center itself has been the source of several investigations (some of them criminal) with cases of boys being housed there for protection and rehabilitation ending up dead. Still there appears to be no panacea to the rise in gun and drug crimes related to the island’s youth whose plight often falls on deaf ears.