Opposition Leader Godwin Friday is calling on the Police Force to do more to inform the public about the status of investigations of “high profile” homicides in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
He made the call on radio, on Monday, as he spoke of the “worrying situation” of violent crime in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Friday spoke about the murder of Keisha Small, whose body was found on the tarmac of the decommissioned ET Joshua Airport last week Thursday, with a piece of pipe perturbing from her vagina. An autopsy concluded that she was strangled.
Friday noted that the death is being investigated, adding, “But what we know publicly really is shocking.”
He urged anyone with information that could assist police in their investigation to come forward.
“… this is the 28th homicide so far this year. That is far too many in a small country like ours and the level of violence that is involved in some of these incidents,” Friday said, noting that some of them have been drive-by shootings.
“These things create a lot of fear in our community, especially among women. And that is a very serious matter for the enjoyment of our country, for the operation of businesses, for people to interact, and to do the things that are necessary to generate economic activity and so forth, in our country,” he said.
“So therefore, when you have an incident like this, or any homicide, any serious offence, the police have an obligation to keep the public informed and to continue to do so because it helps people to understand that there is an effort on the part of the authorities to bring this matter under control, and they are doing all they can to detect perpetrators or perpetrator and to bring them to justice,” the opposition leader said.
Speaking on his weekly show on NICE Radio, the opposition leader said that one would not expect the police to release information that would affect the investigation.
“… but at least to let people know, from time to time, what is happening. When an arrest is made, when something of importance happens in the investigation so that people can look back and say, ‘Yes, the authorities they have a handle on this thing. They know what they’re doing.’”
He said that in the absence of this, there is “further speculation and fear, especially when you see women [being killed]”.
Friday spoke of the death of Precious Williams, 17, of Son Hill, whose body was found in a sack at Richmond Hill in May.
An autopsy revealed that she died as a result of being inflicted with “multiple sharp injuries”.
No one has been charged in connection with her death.
“… we still don’t know the outcome of that investigation into this matter,” Friday said.
“So we urge the police to engage with the public more, get the information that is timely and important to allay some of the fears and the concerns that are out there in the community, especially amongst women who feel that they must stay at home, they are at risk and they live in fear.”
He said this fear is expressed on radio stations and in conversation with people on the streets.
“And that is not what we should have here in St. Vincent. That’s not how it used to be and we need to get a handle on this. And the police are the ones who are in the most important position to deal with that,” the opposition leader said.
He said that when politicians speak, there is a certain amount of “disconnect sometimes when they’re relaying information, so it’s important that it comes from the police, and that they do it in a timely manner
“And to do it in a way that helps to inform the public so that speculation and fear do not run rife in our country, especially among women.”
He said that his expectation is that police would update the public in this particular case and other “high profile” cases that “grabbed the public’s attention because of the circumstances surrounding them, that they have an obligation to come back and to tell us how the investigation is going.”