The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Public Service Union has condemned the “recent spike in shooting deaths, other serious crimes and act of violence” that it says have been plaguing the country since the beginning of the year.
SVG has recorded 18 homicides so far this year, including three people shot and killed by police officers in the line of duty.
This comes after and equally bloody 2022, when the country recorded 42 homicides, a record in one year.
“We are alarmed by the epidemic of crime and violence in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In just five months, illegal guns and organised criminal gangs has raised a threat to our security, peace and the stability within our society,” the union said in a press statement.
“Our nation needs to strengthen our security forces by making alliances with different community-based groups and NGOs. There is an urgent need to reverse what seems to be the normalisation of violence in social interactions. It is time for us as a people to restore the bonds of social solidarity within our communities,” the PSU said.
The union said it acknowledges that there is “a great need to address crime and violence from a non-traditional approach, by moving away from the traditional approach which focuses on retribution and imprisonment; towards one which gears on building public partnerships, fostering trust and restoring open communication.
“We can make better security interventions by assessing the mental health of the citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines; identifying the underlying factors, finding preventative and corrective measures, before making the necessary intercessions.”
The PSU said it anticipates “a collective approach among all stakeholders within our society embracing the common goal of restoring peace, justice and security within St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.