Member of Parliament for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock, said he recently intervened to prevent a constituent testifying in a murder case for fear that she would be killed.
“Recently, I had to take a very strong and risky decision to go to the Commissioner of Police, and, in his absence, to the deputy, to save a person from what would have been certain death,” he told a town hall meeting in New York organised by his New Democratic Party last weekend.
“Because I had had the experience of young man who had witnessed a crime from the Green Hill community, very close, stern supporters of mine, and they irresponsibly allowed that young man to give evidence in the courts in a murder trial. And quite naturally, he was wiped out by the bridge in Bottom Town,” Leacock said.
He was speaking in apparent reference to the shooting death of Kemel Peters in June 2017.
“And, clearly, if I had allowed this young woman to do the same thing, within days she too would have been wiped out,” Leacock said.
“And that’s where we reach. When you have a country in which murderers cannot be brought to justice because nobody see, nobody tell, it means then that your justice system has also collapsed. We are at that stage in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and much of it has to do with the inability of the administration to take care of its citizens.”
He spoke of the NDP’s proposal to pay students’ CXC fees, for building a hostel for Grenadine students attending schools in mainland St. Vincent.
He, said, however, the electorate has allowed someone with the gift of gab who can use their intellect to manipulate the state machinery “to get away with murder”.
He said that St. Kitts and Nevis, which had a debt-to-GDP ratio of 150 per cent a few years ago announced last week that they had reduced their ratio to 60 per cent.
The governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, in concert with finance ministers of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, had agreed that that was a 2030 target, Leacock said.
“And St. Kitts and Nevis has achieved it 12 years ahead of time, because St. Kitts, … is going along the same road as Grenada, whose economy is so far ahead of us, and St. Lucia, whose economy is also so far ahead of us, and Dominica, who we loan money, is so far ahead of us, and Antigua that is light years ahead of us, have all — every last one of them have seen the need to make use of legislation in their citizenship by investment programme that brings in at least a half a billion dollars a year into their economy and takes the taxpaying off the back of the people.
“But we in St. Vincent want to go the other way – from 15 per cent VAT to 16 per cent …” he said.
“If we had taken the Eustace recommendation and had not been driven into fear over 10 years ago, we would have been two, three billion dollars richer today,” he said, referring to former opposition leader Arnhim Eustace, who is Member of Parliament for East Kingstown.
“But not just richer today, we would have also been able to realise that which is fundamental to the advancement and development of our society,” he said