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Opposition Leader, Godwin Friday. (File photo by Seymour Hinds)
Opposition Leader, Godwin Friday. (File photo by Seymour Hinds)
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Providing “hope and opportunity” for would be offenders is important in crime prevention.

So also are good community-police relationships and properly equipping law enforcers, says Leader of the Opposition, Godwin Friday.

“The primary thing that we are focused on, you have to provide hope and opportunity to people. That is the overall environment in which people can succeed by getting through the school system and finding opportunity for constructive employment. Otherwise, as they say, the devil finds work for idle hands,” he told a press conference on Tuesday in Kingstown.

Friday, however, said that there are immediate things that can be addressed in the crime-fighting situation.

“We have talked about, in the past, community policing, making sure that there is that connection between the people being policed and the police officers so that everybody has a stake in dealing with crime. You can’t have a situation where the police are viewed as the enemy and then think that when you go to talk to people they are going to cooperate. That whole approach has to be changed.”

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The opposition leader said he has seen where people just don’t cooperate because they feel that police do not behave in a way that encourages them to do so.

He, however, urged the public to cooperate with the police.

Friday also spoke of a need for better training for police officers and professionalising the police force.

“You talk to people who know and they tell you that right now in the police force, there is this feeling that certain people are getting ahead and others are not. And when you feel that you have done what you are supposed to do and you don’t get promoted and others come and they get special allegiance to party in power, somebody close to them, then it saps your initiative.”

Further, he spoke about equipping police officers.

“You can’t have police officers doing their work and when you call them they say they don’t have transport. You know, sometimes, they want to make a phone call, even from a police station, they have to ask to use your cell phone.”

He said that these are basic things that affect how police officers respond.

Friday said there are special types of crimes that need particular expertise to combat and solve.

“We talked of the high profile crimes of murder and so on, but the situation in the agricultural districts where you have praedial larceny is rampant. There are special constables who were created but they don’t seem to have had any impact on the problem. If you are going to deal with the problem, you don’t just create a job for somebody. You make sure that these people are capable and that they do the work and if they don’t that they are replaced so that you deal with the crimes in those areas.”

Friday called for special units to deal with sexual violence

“We know, we have said this in the past, that sexual violence in this country is endemic. It is a disgrace the way in which you go down to the assizes and you look on the door and you see all these lists of sexual offences that have to be prosecuted. So that is something that you have to have special attention being paid to deal with that aspect of crime.”

The opposition leader noted that SVG is a tourism destination and said there has to be a special way of dealing with crimes against yacht and visitors.

He noted that the victims come to the country for short periods and said that if the accused persons are to be prosecuted, it has to be done quickly.

“You have to first find a way to prevent, but when you can’t, have the best possible means of having the prosecution competed in the best possible way so that people don’t come and go and come and go and eventually they don’t come back and the case is dismissed. And sometimes, that happens with very serious offences,” Friday said.

5 replies on “Providing ‘hope and opportunity’ important in crime prevention”

  1. Friday is so right. Too bad that the current government believes that crime and poverty are not inter-related. They need to read literature beginning from when humanity first began to write. Not just “Robin Hood” or the “Thief of Baghdad” or Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment”.
    It seems like the “Education Revolution” has failed those in our top leadership.

  2. C. ben-David says:

    Don’t you know there are dozens of countries around the world poorer than SVG but with much lower crime rates, including murder, theft, robbery, and rape?

    Don’t you know that there are dozens of countries which are richer than SVG that have higher crime rates?

    Don’t you know that when SVG was much poorer than it is today, it had a much lower crime rate?

    For example, Trinidad and Tobago is the wealthiest country in the Caribbean as well as the third-richest country by GDP (PPP) per capita in the Americas after the United States and Canada. It is recognised as a high-income economy by the World Bank. The per capita Gross Domestic Product is over $US 15,000.

    SVG has a per capita GDP of less than $US 8,000 which means that T/T is twice as rich as SVG.

    Still, the per capita murder rates in the two countries are almost the same: 35 per hundred thousand ofr T/T and 36 per hundred thousand for SVG.

    Scores of other examples would show all sorts of similar variable relationships between crime and poverty.

    This doesn’t mean that crime and poverty are totally unrelated.

    What is does mean is that the “education revolution” has failed you big time..

    1. As an educated person you seem to have missed very much throughout your years of education. You should read what I wrote much more carefully. You lack an ability to get facts from what you read. You are reading things from my comment that I never wrote. I never said that poverty is the ONLY cause of crime. Nor did I write that crime will go away with everyone working. I AM INFERRING VERY STRONGLY THAT CRIME WILL BE REDUCED WITH MORE JOBS. Your inability to “get the message” from what you read is a disgrace to people with an education. That is why you have not seemed to learn anything from so many wise and great writers and leaders and intellectuals in our world’s history. Obviously the education revolution has failed you. You think that the rise in crime in Venezuela right now has nothing to do with the economy? You seem to use your education to mislead people, which is as much of a crime as conning someone out of thier money.
      Crime is a more complex issue than just the economy. It is people like you that perpetuate stupidity and hopelessness in society. Because my name is Jamal and I am black you assume I am a stupid black Vincentian and you are an intelligent white jew. You assume a white PM has more intelligence than any possible PM with black skin. I may not have an education as you do but I am obviously much smarter than you. You need to curb your arrogance and stop making assumptions and misleading people.
      Shame on you!

    2. Where did you get your economic facts? I have different facts. Much of what you write about economics is essentially wrong. I think you are using tainted sources.. What about the per capita wealth of St. Kitts, Aruba. Did you consider the value of each countries infrastructure? No! With your economic evaluation St. Vincent is near the top, but look at our infrastructure, our roads, all the leaking roofs of our schools and other government buildings, no working bathroom at Cato Memorial Hospital You should stick to criticizing the airport because in economics you are lost, You criticize the people and certain things about Saint Vincent but at the same time you admire and campaign for Ralph Gonsalves and his economics.

    3. C ben, you say that Trinidad is the third richest country in the Americas per capita? Where does that come from? At one time Argentina was one of the top 20 richest countries in the world. Chile, and many others do far better than Trinidad. Jamal does not say that poverty = crime. We all know that poverty does influence crime, (all except you and other ULP supporters). You talk about St Vincent being far poorer in the past. What do you compare that to? |most all countries, according to statistics were poorer at that same time. You are truely misleading people. You always say that the ULP makes mistakes, but at the same time you say the NDP is even worse. You really are trying to campaign for the ULP just by saying the NDP are worse. According to you we should all vote ULP as the lesser of two evils. You think the NDP of 1980 is the NDP of today. In many ways you really lack intelligence.

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