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By Kenton X. Chance

If this video, taken from YouTube, sounds familiar, it might be because it is strikingly similar to what was heard in Kingstown on July 19, when five males were murdered.

Many, alarmed but what they had heard in the nation’s capital, noted that it was akin to reportage from an urban war zone.

Sources tell iWitness News that police recovered about 70 spent shells and a number of live rounds of ammunition at the scene of the worst mass murder in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) in living memory.

Those spent shells were from 5.56 and 9mm ammunition, and sources tell iWitness News that police believe that a Draco, a dangerous pistol that functions like an AK-47 rifle, was used in the mass murder.

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The Draco uses 5.56 ammunition — which is prohibited for civilians in SVG. 

Firearms such as the Draco — and other assault-type guns — are prohibited weapons in SVG, meaning that it is illegal for a civilian to possess one without the expressed permission of the Minister of National Security. 

Those guns are reserved for law enforcement and national security agencies.

But, for those who have been paying careful attention, a Draco in the hands of criminal elements in SVG should have come as no surprise.

After all, a Draco was among the guns that Customs and police seized at Port Kingstown in December 2022.

Back then, police intercepted one Draco, one Apache rifle, six 9 mm pistols and 200 rounds of 7.62 ammunition.

Most of the weapons were found in transmissions for vehicles and one of the pistols was traced to a crime in the United States.

No one has been charged in connection with that cache of guns and ammunition. 

Earlier last year — on Feb. 2, 2022 — police recovered and seized one AR-15 rifle — another prohibited weapon — one Draco, two magazines, and 93 rounds of 5.56 ammunition in Bower Mountain, Georgetown.

No one has been charged in connection with those firearms and ammunition.

Then, on Oct. 14, 2022, the SVG Coast Guard intercepted a 29-foot pirogue west of Canouan with four Trinidadians onboard.

The boat was found to contain 330 grammes of cocaine, 49 rounds of 7.62 ammunition, and 20 rounds of 5.56 ammunition — both of which are prohibited ammunition in SVG.

The occupants of the boat were slapped with drug possession and trafficking charges and charges of unlawful possession of the ammunition and possession without the authorisation of the minister.

The recovery of prohibited weapons and ammunition continued into 2023.

On Jan. 23, 2023, police recovered on M4 rifle, two magazines, 50 rounds of .22, 20rounds of 10mm, two rounds of 9mm, and nine rounds of .45 ammunition along with two black masks from an abandoned house in Rose Place, Kingstown

No arrest has been made in connection with that seizure.

As the bloodletting continued in SVG on Sept. 8, there are new concerns about a Draco-type firearm being used to snuff out more lives on the nation’s streets.

Sources tell iWitness News that police are working with a theory that the same type of firearm was used to kill Jamal “Cribit” Finch, 41, in Sion Hill just before midnight on Sept. 8.

As was the case with the Kingstown five in July, Finch was shot repeatedly in the head.

Finch was killed one day after Rose Place resident Jovanne Baptiste, 28, was gunned down about 8 a.m. in Buccament Bay on his way to work.

A well-placed source told iWitness News that footage from a surveillance camera in the area showed a single assailant using two pistols to shoot Baptiste 12 times in the head and multiple other times about the body.

Police have offered EC$50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators of the mass killing in the city.

So far, no charge has been laid in connection with that killing and the homicide count this year stands at 38, four shy of last year’s record-setting 42.

The nation’s porous maritime borders have been blamed for the easy importation of guns and ammunition into the country.

However, one law enforcement source told iWitness News that criminals used the lax customs inspections during the 2021 eruption of law Soufriere to import guns and ammunition among relief items intended for victims of the eruption.  

One reply on “VIDEO: The illegal guns in SVG”

  1. Kenton it would seem as though our custom officers arev not well trained.The question is at what point was the importantion of the illegal firearm discovered . Was it at the time when the goods are being cleared at the customs, or were they consigned to a party and was simply not cleared? In both cases who were the consignee and why were they not charged for importing an illegalbm firesarm under the contraband fire arm act?

    What happened to the vehicle seized after the nass murder in capital Kingstown? Were fingerprints recovered from the vehicle i n question? Was the a connection with the vehicle leaving the sene and the pictures taken. I could now understand why our top Corp decided on early retirement but other such as as our top cop Trevor Baile should go with him. […]

    What should we expect when good policemen are not promoted based on merits,, but by partisan politics? The iwitness news article last week questioned why some good cops did not included on the list of those received promotion. In the end we will pay a hefty price for our shoddy promotion polices.

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