Opposition spokesperson on national security, St. Clair Leacock says a New Democratic Party (NDP) administration would be willing to consider a gun amnesty, including paying people to hand in illegal weapons.
He said his party would not want to say that it knows that such an approach would definitively yield a better result.
“… and so, we may well have to consult, but clearly, the notion of providing amnesty offers itself to us,” Leacock said at an NDP press conference in Kingstown.
“Whether that should be voluntary, or whether we shall produce an enticement by paying and rewarding for those who have guns to bring them in and to be paid for them with a proviso that if you don’t, the law will come down on them when we will have revised laws to punish offenders, will have to be taken into consideration,” the Central Kingstown MP said.
Leacock’s comments came as the national reels from the shock of five people, including a 13-year-old boy, being gunned down in Kingstown on July 19.
The opposition lawmaker noted that in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Commissioner of Police Colin John said the killings are part of an ongoing conflict that began in 2014 when former friends turned foes over a drug deal.
Leacock noted that Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, when he was opposition leader, blamed then Prime Minster Sir James Mitchell and Commissioner of Police Randolph Toussaint for not getting a handle on the country’s cocaine problem.
“If they’re still fighting for coke, is Ralph and Collin’s fault. We must say that to him in bold and no uncertain terms,” Leacock said.
Leacock further criticised Gonsalves, who is minister of national security and was overseas on official business when the killings occurred, for not returning home immediately.
“But we cannot let a prime minister of a state who is globe-trotting and who is, in the face of five murders, in one night and 11 in a month could not bring himself to understand that he had to cut short wherever he was and whatever he was involved in and return to his home to take care of his citizens,” Leacock said.
“It’s not a time for showcasing himself and any poodles. It’s time to do the nation’s business. And he must be condemned in the strongest language and terms possible,” Leacock said.
“He has failed and is sufficient reason for him too be asked to resign the office of Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on that score alone. St. Vincent is no longer a place where we feel safe in the public and the New Democratic Party and I borrow the mantra here of Dr. Friday, understand that the one most important action in addressing crime is to change the government.”