There is protection available for witnesses of crime who would like to testify but feel that they might be putting themselves at risk by doing so.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves made the disclosure at a press conference on Tuesday, but declined to say if there is a witness protection programme in operation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“There is protection offered for witnesses and – and let me just leave it at that,” Gonsalves, who is also Minister of National Security said in response to a question at a press conference.

Asked what he might say to witnesses who might be afraid to come forward, Gonsalves said:

“I say to them, tell the DPP… or you can tell the senior officers in the Police Force. If the investigating officer, you feel at ease with them, you can tell them; but tell somebody in authority. I say a senior officer in the Police Force, the Director of Public Prosecution and protection will be provided.”

Law enforcement and justice sources have, at times, intimated to media professionals covering those beats their frustration with some criminals being set free because witnesses do not testify for fear of reprisal.