Police know that many of the killings in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are a result of the drug trade or rivalries between individuals, but often do not have admissible evidence for a successful prosecution.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves made this disclosure to the media on Monday in response to a question about what reassurances his government can give citizens that they are safe as the nation registered five gun-related incidents, including three fatalities in the past week.
“But I give the assurance, I reiterate it again, I reiterate the assurance that the Police Force has a fairly good handle as to what is happening. They may not be able, as you will appreciate, in particular instances to stop John Browne, who has vendetta against Ephraim Paul, to stop that, but they know what is happening,” he said.
Gonsalves, who is also Minister of National Security, told reporters on Monday that while one killing is one too many, the first eight months of the year has not registered as many killings as the comparable period of 2014.
There has been 21 homicides in St. Vincent and the Grenadines so far this year, compared to 38 in all of 2014,
Around 7 p.m. Sunday, 36-year-old Jerry Williams of Redemption Sharpes and Murray’s Village was shot and killed in Murray’s Village.
Police say the deceased was walking along the Murray’s Village public road when an unknown assailant approached him and opened fire.
He sustained several gunshot wounds to his head and died on the spot.
On Thursday, Rockies resident, Dexter Rodney, was injured when an unknown assailant shot him multiple times in the chest and abdomen around noon at Plant Shop, a hangout spot on Lower Bay Street, Kingstown.
New Montrose shopkeeper, Dennis Quinton, died in hospital Wednesday night, one day after unknown assailants shot him in his village.
Tuesday night, 42-year-old preacher, Kensley Bascombe, was shot and injured by unknown assailants as he made his way to a shop in Collins, where he lives.
On Saturday, Rawlson Williams of Questelles, originally of Byera, was found dead in bushes in Belvedere shortly after he exchanged gunfire with police.
Police said Williams had shot at a patron in the parking lot of Huffles Ranch around 5:30 a.m.
Gonsalves told reporters that intelligence is very important in fighting crime and his government has been spending a lot on this, although boots on the ground are also important
He said that, most of the time, the police have some idea who committed the crime.
“But again, the question of admissible evidence to mount a credible prosecution, it’s a difficulty.
“I happen to know last year, when you had a number of shootings, there are some people who were actually pulled in by the police saying, ‘We have the intelligence that so and so is going to do this.’ They say, ‘I know nothing about that. What you talking about? I not involved.
“And few weeks later, you hear some harm has been suffered by that particular individual. They don’t sometimes want to cooperate because they don’t feel that the danger is imminent or they feel that they can deal with it themselves,” Gonsalves said.
“I am being very, very honest about this, but I assure you that the intelligence arm of the police, they have a very good arm on this thing and this is always a very good thing in terms of solution and to contain any problems,” he said.