Two men were shot and killed and two others injured in what has been described as a drive-by shooting in Evesham around 7:30 Monday night.
Dead are Evesham residents Benjamin Jackson and Derwin “Puppy” Robinson.
Dion “Dirts” Durrant , 35, a security guard of Evesham and Dominic Smart, 23, a landscaper of Riley, received gunshot injuries during the incident.
The deaths bring to 24 the number of killings in the country so far this year, the sixth since June 12.
Guns were used at last 17 of the killings.
There have been suggestions that persons are being killed over a cocaine transaction that reportedly went sour.
Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Ralph Gonsalves on Monday said he has read the reports about cocaine falling into the hands of people for whom it was not intended.
On June 12, accused drug runner Godfrey Cumberbatch, 42, was shot twice in the head in Glen while lying on a bed with his girlfriend and daughter.
Cumberbatch, who was on EC$100,000 bail, was scheduled to appear in court on June 19 for a preliminary inquiry into charges relating to a 2,000-pound marijuana bust on Feb. 20.
Two days later, Chesley “Puppy” Dowers, 31, was shot several times as he sat on his patio in Golden Vale on June 14.
Matthan Slater, a labourer of Union Island, died in hospital on July 1. He was shot in the abdomen in Kingstown around 2 a.m. on June 29, near “Yanky”, a shop and fried chicken outlet on Higginson Street.
Police on Saturday arrested Kirt Stapleton, a 22-year-old labourer of New Montrose, and charged him with Slater’s murder.
Stapleton was also charged with using a firearm to aid in the commission of the offence of the murder of Slater, had in his possession one firearm with intent to endanger life and had in his possession a firearm without a
licence issued under the Firearms Act, at Kingstown on June 29.
Keshorn Richards, 23, a labourer of Fair Hall/South Wood died in a hail of bullets outside a house in Fair Hall around 8:40 p.m. on July 1.
Kevin Greaves, a 36-year-old resident of Rivulet, died in hospital on July 5, after being shot multiple times by unknown assailant(s) in Kingstown Park that same night.
And, on July 5, 65-year-old Hyacinth Hoyte, a domestic of Paget Farm, Bequia died during a cutlass attack in which her husband, Marcs Hoyte, a 65-year-old stevedore, also received chop wounds.
Lyndon Quashie, who was suspected of committing those crimes, was found dead in the burnt out ground floor of a house on the North Grenadines island two days later.
He is believed to have committed suicide.
The shooting Monday night came hours after Gonsalves told a press conference that a mobile police unit will be placed in Glen and Belair in the wake of the shootings.
“Obviously, we have to strengthen the security throughout, for everybody, including the many visitors who are in that particular area, including the medical students, too,” Gonsalves told a press conference on Monday, noting that there are also medical students in Montrose.
“The police have been alive to that issue, on those two questions,” he said.
Gonsalves also spoke about the relationship between the drug trade and some of the killings in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and suggested that persons were being murdered over cocaine.
“When I talk about — and you have heard me on this before — that money is really the oxygen of criminality and that drugs is the facilitation of that oxygen, I think people would get a graphic idea as to what is happening there.
“Because I see everybody reporting, saying it’s a fight in relation to — I read the report, I am not telling you what I got from the police, but I read the reports — that you say that some cocaine might have landed on the beach and somebody took it who wasn’t supposed to get it and he who was supposed to get it is battling the one who actually got it,” the Prime Minister said.
“When I say we live in a dangerous neighbourhood, this again illustrates the fact that we are in a conduit for drugs, cocaine. We produce the marijuana here but that is not what is the focus for the real money spinning. The focus of the real money spinning is the cocaine,” he further said.
He said there is a lot of cocaine in Columbia, which comes through the Caribbean on its way to North America and Europe.
Gonsalves said that Caribbean, American, and British law enforcement agencies have done much to close off this area of the trade and while there has been a significant set of controls put on it, but cocaine still comes through.
“So what they have done, as you have noticed, they go across the Atlantic, they use places on the coast of West Africa, like Guinea Bissau to get to America,” he said.
Gonsalves further said that Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala are among the top seven in the world in terms of their murder rate.
“And they are using them to get to Mexico and to go up. Remember you know, the guys who are running this trade, this is a multibillion-dollar trade. These fellas have their strategy as to how they are going to make money. As far as they are concerned, this is a business. And I am just giving you a broad prospective in terms of discussions as to what transpired between ourselves in the Caribbean and St. Vincent, with the Americans and the British and the French and so on with whom we are working in dealing with matters,” Gonsalves said.
Update: An earlier version of this story said two persons were killed and a third injured. Police have since said that two persons were killed and two injured.
I know that this is crude maths, however;
SVG has a population of c109,000
UK has a population of c65,000,000
The UK therefore has 600 times more people than SVG
If you were to crudely round that figure up and not account for all the other macro economical and statistical factors; SVGs 24 murders will equate to c14,400 murders for the UK.
Lets then take some of the aforementioned factors into consideration and lets assume that for whatever reason that number of 24 murders in SVG equated to 7,000 murders in the UK.
For 7,000 murders by the half year point, I guarantee you that there would be a state of emergency in the UK.
What then is being done in SVG?
The image of the deceased is insensitive and poor judgement on the part of the editor.
I don’t think it’s insensitive to show someone’s who was shot in the media.
I personally believe that people should see what dealing with drugs and what the consequences are. Violence is ALWAYS bad, but using drugs like cocaine is DANGEROUS.
I think I am with KRS on this one.
Showing the image of the deceased without the expressed of the next of Kin is tantamount to gratuitous voyeurism of a sort that should be below any reputable news agency. Hence the reason for most main stream media outlets banning the practice.
It also exposes the editor to lawsuits from all parties. God forbid any of my relatives are ever gunned down for any reason, I would be greatly offended if their image (while in that state) was ever used to increase circulation
I think its established now that our little SVG has one of the highest murder rates in the world at present. Is there not a National Commission on Crime? Is it still in operation? What is its mandate? What are its findings? What are its proposals? what is its action plan? Who is at the helm of the NCC?
Here is the sad truth…our police is in no position to deal effectively with these shootings and the escalation of violent crimes, given the monumental ineptitude of the present Government and the historical configuration of our Police Force. We have no experience in fighting this “war on drugs” malaise that has plagued other nations for some time now. What we have in SVG at the moment is what countries like Jamaica, NY etc have been fighting for years and have developed strategies and policies to combat or at least curtailed this ever evolving war. This Government has not shown any appetite to go all out in suppressing the criminal elements in SVG. All we getting is a lot of ole talk from both sides of Parliament. The Opposition, is gladly laying blame at the foot of the Government for the rise of crime in the country but if they want to run the country, they at some point will have to come up with some solutions.
Its not just about putting mobile units in an area after a crime was committed there…but there needs to be some serious rethink as to how the police approach the crime issue. The criminals are more heavily armed than the police; I have always said for a long time now, that ALL police officers should be carrying a sidearm in form of a revolver..and not just the special forces. We need to make violent crimes a priority with the sole objective of arresting major drug-pushers in the country. Our DPP should be making it clear that his or sole purpose is to put these criminals behind bars for life.
Our legal system has to take on a radical approach to fighting violent crime…a special court should be set up especially for these type of crimes. I get the impression at times in SVG, there is no urgency in dealing with all of these shootings; it seems, the politicians just talk and they move on.
The Government should move with haste to pass legislation that put some serious restrictions on firearms. We have been slow to mobilized public opinion on this issue. There needs to be public awareness campaigns on gun control; its only when we have public outrage, that things get done and this is an issue that the public needs to get involve. When you start having drive-bys in Vincyland, you know we have entered into a new frontier of criminality in our once “blessed” land.
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