Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says he has met with Commissioner of Police Colin John and his “10 top officers dealing with crime” amidst the recent spate of killings, which has left two people dead on each of the last two weekends, taking the homicide count to 32.
“… we did a review as to what is being done now and what we can do different, better and more,” Gonsalves said on his weekly show on the state-owned NBC Radio.
“And there are a series of things which have been decided upon. I wouldn’t talk about them except to say that if persons see certain things happening, they will know that it relates to what I mentioned here now,” said Gonsalves, who is also minister of national security.
‘No future in guns’
“I just want to reaffirm what I have been saying recently. There is no future in guns. I want the young males who have a fascination with guns to realise this themselves. There is no future in guns. There is a future in education and training. There is a future in hard and smart work. There is a future in going and making an application for PRYME (Promoting Youth Micro Enterprises) to start your business or to expand your legitimate business,” Gonsalves said.
“If you belong to a group in a particular area of the country, a particular geographic area or some friendship or associations or things based on girlfriends or whatever else these association may be based upon, one thing is certain: If you’re involved in gun crimes today against somebody, you might be the aggressor today but as sure as the sun rises, you’re going to be a victim tomorrow or a victim the day after. So there’s no future in it. All you all will be doing is killing one another.”
The prime minister said that what is “particularly unfortunate” is that innocent by-standers might get caught in the crossfire.
“But it is a terrible thing to see young males wasting their lives away with this .. fascination with guns.”
He urged the nation’s youth to live in the real world and not the one they see on social media or in films.
“That’s not real. That’s fake and you don’t need a gun to show that it is masculine or it’s strength. There is nothing cultural about you having a gun. On the contrary, it’s antithetical, it is completely opposed to our heritage. We are not a violent people. We are a peaceful people. This fascination, this American fascination with guns. We must stop it. And everybody is involved in this, to stop it.”
He urged parents to supervise the young males in their households.
“If you just leave your male child and let it go and do what they want to do, you don’t parent them properly, you’re going to end up with a big problem, likely.
“You have to watch the company your children keep. We have to have the communities peaceful. They have to have local leadership in the communities helping,” he said, adding that some preachers focus on the afterlife but not immediate issues.
“… a number of pastors really — not the good ones — they want to frighten people to heaven, to tell you how you going get burn up in hellfire but not talking to you in some immediate way to stay away from guns and to see if we can get the young males to be doing useful things. Let them get involved in education and training and sports. Pan Against Crime, drama, cultural activities, singing,” the prime minister said.
He said there is a role for school, saying that teachers cannot give up on any student.
“We have to find ways. The government itself, the police, the judges, the magistrates, all of us. We have to play our part. The reason why we call ourselves a society is because humans have social solidarity with one another,” Gonsalves said.
“You can’t just be so individualistic he does lock yourself up in your house and think that what happens outside your house is that not of any business of yours. And we have to do things to help to improve our communities, our societies and our families, in our churches, in our schools, in the governance of the country, in the policing, in the legal system; everything!”
He said that even lawyers have a role to play in addressing the crime situation in the court.
“… because while everybody who is accused of a crime has the right to a lawyer of his or her choice, the lawyers themselves must use the opportunities to talk to these persons and say, ‘Listen this thing ain’t going to take you anywhere. So, everybody,” said Gonsalves, a lawyer who distinguished himself at the criminal Bar.