Police in St. Vincent and the Grenadines do a better job of arresting opposition critics than solving homicides, the parliamentary opposition says.
Five months into the year, the country has recorded 18 killings, and the New Democratic Party (NDP) said that if the trend continues, the homicide count would go past the record 40 of 2018.
“Vincentian society was shocked at the discovery of the decomposed body of a 17 year old woman in the community of Murray’s Village on the outskirts of Kingstown on Thursday 12 May 2022,” the NDP said in a statement, referring to the body that was later identified as that of Precious Williams, of Sion Hill.
On May 16, the country recorded two additional homicides during a shooting in New Montrose.
Those killings follow four homicides between April 29 and May 2.
“Crime is out of hand in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” the NDP said this week.
“Should the current rate continue, SVG would equal its 2016 record-breaking murder count of forty (40) for the year. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) ranks 2016 in SVG as the 6th bloodiest in the world in the period 2012 to 2020.”
The NDP said that a significant percentage of these homicides remain unsolved “as the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force seems unequipped to come to grips with this crisis.
“This incompetence stands in stark contrast to the enthusiasm and vigour exercised in the pursuit and arrest of critics of the ULP administration and in preventing citizens from exercising their constitutional rights to freedom of expression and association.
“Of greater concern is the administration’s refusal to acknowledge the depth of this crisis since 2007. It is evident that as Minister of National Security, Dr. Gonsalves has failed to be “tough on crime and the causes of crime”, the NDP said, referring to a promise that Ralph Gonsalves made before coming to office in March 2001
“In 20 years, the minister and successive commissioners of police (the current Commissioner of Police Colin John being included) have failed to present to the nation a credible and comprehensive plan to deal with spiralling crime. It would appear that such a plan has not even been drafted. The time has come for the administration to engage real expertise,” the NDP said.
The statement continued:
“While we offer our sympathies to families directly affected by violent crime, we recognise that expressions ring hollow without action. The New Democratic Party renews our call for a bi-partisan, broad-based approach to the development and implementation of strategies for combating crime.
“We call on anyone with information that might assist the police in their investigations to contact the police immediately.”