Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says that if crime in St. Vincent and the Grenadines were as bad as Opposition Leader Godwin Friday makes it out to be, Friday would not dare walk against crime, as he plans to do.
The New Democratic Party says that in an effort to raise awareness about “this crisis” of crime and joblessness, Friday, along with NDP MPs and the NDP executive will “Walk for Jobs” and “Walk Against Crime” from Fitz Hughes to Kingstown on Sept. 8 and from Georgetown to Kingstown on Sept. 15.
“Now, if you are truly saying that the criminals have overtaken the country and are overrunning it, you will be asking that the police force come out in their numbers to give you protection along the way and you hire Guardsman, you hire Famo, you hire all the security available because things are so difficult in this country and are so violent and the police are overrun so much that Friday and his men and women can’t walk from Chateaubelair to town, because they’re so fearful,” Gonsalves told a press conference on Monday.
“Well, if they are so fearful, they wouldn’t walk.”
Gonsalves said he has a scientific mind and is trained in a particular way and when people say things, “they might think it’s a joke and they talk it, but I subject it to serious analysis and they are not serious people.”
Gonsalves said there have been, essentially, three types of homicides in SVG, which recorded it 23rd murder for the year when a security guard was stabbed to death last weekend.
The first is absence-of-restraint homicides, the prime minister said.
“A man cyah tek butt (can’t handle infidelity) and he kill somebody. Fellas at a rum shop arguing, they pick a fight, … lovers have a quarrel…
“Now, I want to ask you, how in heaven’s name, how can the Commissioner of Police prevent an absence of restraint killing? Because the police can’t be everywhere.”
He said that second types of homicides are opportunistic.
“A fella going break yo’ place or they meet yo’ somewhere, they rob you and they take the opportunity to take you out at the time because of how things happen, for one reason or another. Either they go with the intention first or it develops at that moment.”
He said the third type of homicide is what he has been calling “killings as a consequence of competition between associational groups” — a term that many say is a euphemism for gangs.
Gonsalves, however, maintained, “They are not gangs. They haven’t solidified as gangs. You may use the word gangs loosely if you wish, and that is drugs, turf, ego, all sorts of things involved.”
“In short, let us have a sensible, mature conversation on this matter and don’t take the episodic and generalise it and seek to create fear and alarm.”
Gonsalves noted that from April to the middle of June there were no homicides in SVG.
“But yet, we are told, this year has been a terrible one of fear and alarm.”