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Hesran Ballantyne

Head of the Eastern Division of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, Superintendent of Police Hesran Ballantyne at the press conference in Kingstown on July 19, 2023.

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The Eastern Division of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force headed by Superintendent of Police, Hesran Ballantyne, has been commended for making a breakthrough in every homicide in that district this year.

Commissioner of Police Colin John credited witnesses coming forward and giving evidence as one of the factors for the success rate in the division.

“We were able, based on the circumstance of the particular crime, obtain evidence that the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) concluded or considered sufficient to sustain and support a charge,” John told a press conference last week.

The commissioner also commended the officers of the Eastern Division for solving crimes in their division.

He was responding to a question from the media regarding the difference between the eastern and other police divisions across the country, as regards investigating serious crimes.

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The question came at a press conference one day after five people were gunned down in a mass shooting in Kingstown that took the homicide count this year to 35.

“The Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, generally speaking, have hard-working and dedicated police officers,” the police chief said.

“Thank you to all of the men and women of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force who, on a day-to-day basis, go out and, in most cases, go beyond the call of duty to ensure that the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines are safe,” John said.

The Eastern Division extends from North Union to Fancy and includes communities such as Park Hill, South Rivers, Colonarie, Dixon, Georgetown, Sandy Baby, Overland and Owia. The division has four police stations.

On Oct. 3, 2022, Ballantyne was appointed the officer in charge of the eastern division, and since then, he has been making time to traverse the district with his officers, a press release said.

Charges have been laid in connection with the three homicides in the division this year.

On March 6, Javid DaSilva, 23, and a 15-year-old resident of Caratal, appeared before the Serious Offences Court in Kingstown, charged with the murder in connection with the March 2 death of Da Silva’s brother, Sheldon “Butterz” Welch, of Caratal Georgetown.

Welch’s body, which had been cut into several pieces, was found in the Morne Garu mountain, about two hours’ hike from his home.

Further, Jamal Benjie, 33, a labourer of Georgetown, appeared in court on April 28,  charged with murder in connection with the April 25 shooting death of Dave Sutton, 48, of New Chapmans

Xavier Corke and Taly Jackson
Murder accused, Xavier Corke, left, and Taly Jackson.

The Eastern Division also made a breakthrough in the shooting death of 46-year-old Michael Miller, of Stubbs, who was shot and killed in at Crab Island, Langley Park on July 3.

On July 6, police arrested and charged Xavier Corke, of Caratal, and Taly Jackson, of Langley Park, with murder in connection with the killing

Further, police in the Eastern Division have arrested and charged 19-year-old Jace Baptiste, of Chilli Village, Georgetown in connection with the July 11 attack on two Cuban medical professionals in Georgetown.

similar crime against a Cuban doctor in Kingstown on the night of June 30 remains unsolved.