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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (iWN file photo)
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (iWN file photo)
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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says that more attention needs to be paid on the sentencing of offenders.

He made the comment at a press conference earlier this month after visiting Her Majesty’s Prisons, in Kingstown, and seeing the number of young offenders there.

Gonsalves, who is also minister of justice, legal affairs, and national security, said that based on the media reports, “some persons are clearly candidates for incarceration”.

He, however, said that while he cannot go solely on the reports, he would also see persons “being sent to jail for something or sentences of a particular kind”.

“We have to make sure, those who are administering justice have to make sure that this is an area which a lot more attention should be paid to,” said Gonsalves, a lawyer.

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“Is not — by and large, it’s an area of the study in the law which doesn’t get a great deal of exploration: sentencing. And persons have to get to it by the basis of further study and further knowledge and experience. And I think that that is an area where we need to look at too, in addition to strengthening certain things at the prisons,” he told the media.

The prime minister further said:

“As I told some of the prisoners this morning, it gives me pain when I see persons – young people [and] not-young people, get involved in criminal violence. Young women, young men who are either doing a sentence for murder or who are waiting.

“Anytime I tell you I read about it or hear about it, those who are dead, it gives me a lot, a lot of pain. And those who are alleged to perpetrate the crime, also it pains me; it hurts me a lot. People around me would ask me, ‘Why you allow this thing to hurt you like this?’ I say I can’t help it. That is how God mek me.”

Gonsalves said what gives him joy is when young people perform well. 

The prime minister visited the prison after the escape, sometime between Sept, 30 and Oct. 1, of accused-murderer Veron Primus, who surrendered to police after about 12 hours on the loose.

The prime minister said that while he had read the reports, he wanted to see for himself the area from which Primus had escaped.

Prison officer Louie Cupid, 45, of Murray’s Village, has been charged with conspiracy and corruption in connection with the escape.

Primus, on the other hand, was sentenced to 16 months in jail for escaping lawful custody.

4 replies on “PM wants more attention paid to sentencing of offenders”

  1. If it really does hurt the Prime Minister to hear about these young criminals, why doesn’t he analyze why it is happening at such a large rate in SVG? There is no person in the country in a better position to reduce the crime problem than the Prime Minister. The solutions are very simple but until now he has refused to do anything about it.
    Simply put: The PM has to enact policies that create an environment of opportunity (instead of poverty and hopelessness which we have at present) whereby, slowly, many of these people will be less inclined to go the “crime path”.
    He can start by stop raising taxes as fast as he can. Reduce taxes and Customs Duties that encourage investment, instead of what we have now, that discourages investment. When investment occurs jobs get created and more people begin to have hope that they can take care of themselves legally. Men can afford to take women out instead of raping them because they can’t afford to “wine and dine”. Why don’t we look at Singapore and how they became the wealthiest nation on earth although they have virtually NO resources? Why do we instead do everything we can to do the opposite of Singapore? We have had a bad system even before the ULP took stewardship of the government.

    It just makes no sense! Why don’t we seek to enact policy that makes prosperity inevitable and poverty impossible; instead we are enacting policy that makes crime and poverty inevitable!

    There are certain areas where the PM does remarkable! I cherish my Vincentian Passport more than my US Passport. Gonsalves made the Vincentian Passport something to be proud of! When it comes to “opportunity creation” for the poor he would get a failing mark. Look at all the street vendors! Any PM present or future has to consider the problem from a grassroots perspective as well as from the “top-down”.

  2. In the light of recent reports here by iWN at ( ) What should we make of this poignant quote?

    “Our government… teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy”. Louis D. Brandeis was an American lawyer and associate justice on the Supreme Court of the United States of America from 1916 to 1939.

  3. Comrade you should be vocal in telling the police to stop beating confessions from the accused in interview rooms and police cells.

    It may be that at some time in your life you will personally experience the beating regime.

  4. Well comrade, it pains my heart too when I read and see the pics of these young men and women becoming criminals and incarcerate within an institution of stagnation. I ask myself, why our young people are being incarcerated without any worthwhile programme for rehabilitation and life skills to make them productive citizens again. Shouldn’t that have been included in the education revolution proposals? And what studies are being done in the hope of combating such predicament? Why does it take you the PM to visit the prison for this to be brought forward? Well, now I understand the reason for the slogan “asks Ralph”. Comrade, it is quite time that you start holding those high level civil servants accountable to their mandate; starting with the Minister of Finance re his neglect in ensuring that his duties are incompliance with his mandate.

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