Minister of Local Government, Sen. Julian Francis. (iWN file photo)

Notwithstanding the spate of killings in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the nation’s residents can go about their business as usual unless they are involved in criminal activities — or fear being hit by a stray bullet.

This was the suggestion by Minister of Local Government, Sen. Julian Francis on Tuesday at the end of a day when one man was killed and two other persons injured during a shooting incident outside the crowded Leeward Bus Terminal in Kingstown.

Tuesday’s shooting was in addition to one in Vermont and another in Casson Hill Friday night, each of which claimed one life.

The senator was also speaking in the aftermath of Saturday’s shooting death of a 27-year-old Keisha Melville in Murray’s Village and the injury of a man in Fair Hall, and the shooting death of one man and injury of another in Vermont, Monday night.

The spate of killings has left many residents of SVG unnerved.

But, on his weekly radio programme, Francis offered this as reassurance:

“… one of the things we have to see in this and say in this is that persons who are being shot and killed in this are not innocent persons. They are involved in one way or the other.

“There haven’t been a lot of [innocent] shootings and killings. There have been one or so in between,” he said, mentioning among the innocent dead national footballer is Roy “Chicken” Richards, 34, and elderly shopkeeper Daniel “Bogan” Hepburn, 78, who were shot and killed in Barrouallie during a robbery on the night of July 8 — the same night when Kemmie Haynes, 34, was shot and killed in Green Hill.

Among other innocent victims of crime that the minister referred to was Dale Lyttle, who escaped from his abductors who had hijacked his car in Kingstown. Lyttle was able to wrestle a gun from Andrew Roberts, one of the two hijackers, and shot him in the chest, killing him in Casson Hill last Friday night.

“And there have been one or two instances of gun-related robberies and so on,” Francis said.

“But the killings we are talking about here, normal Vincentians going about their normal lives are not fearful of this from the point of view that they would get shot. They may get shot from a stray bullet but the shooting is not intended for innocent persons. They shootings that are going on today are intended for persons of a certain clique, whether it’s gang or otherwise.”

Francis said there are not many instances of women being shot, adding that many men are being shot and shooting each other.

“Those that get shot most of the times or get damaged or killed are domestic violence,” he said in relation to women — three days after Melville was shot and killed execution-style while walking home in Murray’s Village around 9 p.m. Saturday.

“But this warfare that is taking place — and we have to check and see where all this type of behaviour is coming from. Is it cultural penetration? Is it the television, the programming that is on television, the movies that we show? The access to the underworld through social media and television? Is it the dance hall music? Are the lyrics in dancehall music what we should be listening to? Are they playing a part in all of this?” Francis said.

He said the lyrics of a number of dance hall songs advocate the use of violence to settle scores and asked persons to consider whether this was a contributing factor to violence.

Francis’ Unity Labour Party administration is coming under increasing pressure to address crime and violence in SVG, with some persons noting that while in opposition the ULP had placed the nation’s crime problem squarely at the feet of then Prime Minister, James Mitchell, and police chief Randolph Toussaint.

Counting the dead and injured in SVG’s bloody September

3 replies on “Those being killed ‘are not innocent persons’ — Francis”

  1. All i have are these questions for now…Why is it that only black people being murdered?How did the guns reach from the white man hand(factory) into the blacks man’s own?Is this another strategy of the system for keeping black people traumatize or frightened all the time?Why is there more blacks in the prisons that in collages?Why is it so easy for blacks to get guns instead of a job? How can we prevent these thing from happening to black people all the time?Can someone please answer these questions for me?

  2. The Gangsta Music – the movies of gangs and the underworld, penetrating the minds of the youth. That has become one of the sub-cultures of the Caribbean.

    The vulgar lyrics being played on the vans and accessed on youtube that many download and plug into their ears and internalize and activate, according to the circumstance presented.

    That music and movies the propagate all kinds of sexual activities; the music that propels a desperation for money and the getting of it at any cost….even if it means counting down your days to death. The end result therefore being a lost hope, a lost dream, a lost life!

    All this come about because there is a longing to be a part of the “in- thing” “the latest” – the “crowd”. Many have suffered from a lack of acceptance, by former friends; being rejected or abandoned by a mother or father. Struggling with forgiveness from others, even in the Church, even though they are trying.

    Schools and churches need to corroborate and come up with a “Conflict Resolution Program”. Don’t wait on the government to do everything.

    The reality is that this world has become a harsh and selfish place and many have become victims of rejection and loneliness. The end result is – being deceived by that “place” where you think you have “evolved”. Where you think your struggles have been taken and you are grown.

    It is time to stop, think, re-chart your course and make wise decisions. Be a “one-man army” towards good. Forget the vulgar fetes, exposing the private parts of your body in certain clothing and at “wet ‘n wild” pool parties.
    Forget the alcohol and other drugs that numbs and “dumbs” you. Drink a lot of water and get plenty rest. Then you won’t have to buy donkey-hair to put on your head and false eye-lashes to look like somebody. You – the natural you would be the “real t’ing!”

    It’s a “mind” thing – but you have to make the choice. Decide that I will not submit to indecency, vulgarity. I will make the choice to be a worthy and worthwhile person. I will not let mistakes nor past problems determine my destiny. I will not bow and give my mind and life to unwholesome things, activities or people.

    Forget the loose sex and be commited to one person, or have no sex at all. Find gainful and legitimiate employment. Respect and assist the elderly in society. Love and give thanks to God, we would truly be in a better “place”.

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