KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Crime here is “a very painful matter” and “difficult … to deal with” especially since “it seems like anything goes nowadays”, according to Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace.
Eustace said on Monday that Vincentians “really have to do something about crime and the types of crime committed in the country.
“I mean some of them are so terrible, so heinous,” he said hours after news broke that an elderly woman, believed to have been raped and killed, was found dead in her Fitz Hughes home.
“It is as if we don’t care about anything. … How would somebody go to rape a lady who is in her 70s, maybe 80? … I mean what is the sense of that? Why do we do such things? We don’t have any control whatsoever? We don’t have any values?” Eustace said.
His comments also came on the heel of the shooting injury of the son of one of his staff Sunday night and reports that two women on the Grenadine island of Bequia received knife wounds on the weekend.
“All these things bring us back to the general decline we have here in St. Vincent. Sometimes you feel as if things are just falling apart,” Eustace said.
“I mean, what’s going on? You hear people cutting off people’s heads. You hear about lists of people to be killed. … Your mind just boggles at what is happening here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.
Eustace said Vincentians, at all levels of society and from all organisations, need to spend a lot of time addressing crime.
“All the organisations, not just the government and the opposition the church, the service clubs, the police, all of us have to play a role in dealing with this question of crime,” he said.
Eustace spoke of the Social Spiritual and Redemption charter that his New Democratic Party failed to have debated in Parliament in 2003.
He noted his party’s proposal “to deal with the question of morals and values in our society so that more of our young people are exposed to those values at a very early age”.
He said that while strengthening the Police Force is important to solving crime “a lot more effort and energy should be utilised in trying to deal with the minds of our young people …
“The kinds of examples that we as adults have set over the last few years, what they are exposed to on TV and Internet and so forth, all of these are factors … impact on crime in this country and we have to do something about it,” Eustace said.
“I agree you have to strengthen the Police and so on. But that cannot be your only focus. A lot more must be put into the question of prevention. And to do that, we have to reach the minds of the young.
“Get them at an early age. … We need a long-term solution because you cannot do this in the short-term. A lot of our people’s minds have already been twisted and turned. Some people are like they don’t even know the difference between right and wrong anymore,” Eustace said, adding, “I hear justifications are being given for all sorts of activities.
“… there is no excuse. It is wrong. It should not be done,” Eustace said as he reemphasised his support for the death penalty.
“I am not making any joke about that. There are religious grounds for it and I believe that it is important to have that kind of deterrent,” he said.
“People could say it is not a deterrent. I don’t believe so,” Eustace added.