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By Sheldon Bramble

The proactiveness of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) towards crime prevention for the upcoming festive season is giving some hope to Vincentians that there is more efficient law enforcement and order once again being sought for in St. Vincent land. The “so beautiful” in this land can only be sustained and appreciated in an atmosphere of law and order.

How this new initiative evolves into a trend or not, everyone will be curiously observing. With nearly 50 murders in 2023 so far, there is much opportunity for us to see if the slackness which has brought us to this point is teaching us lessons about proactiveness and prevention rather than the deafening silence which has amounted to suggestion that these crimes where Vincentians are preying on each other for too long are actually, seemingly almost condoned by the local authorities. Why has there been such mystery surrounding many of these crimes is anyone’s guess. However, citizens of SVG have a right to know much more for sure.

How did the guns land here and how are they continuing to do so? Who is organising and disorganising? Who are selling out and traitors in the law enforcement entities? What is actually going on at our ports and beachfronts. Are many in the Grenadines looking the other way? How can proper ethical behaviour and respect be fully regained by RSVGPF?

To boast of 32 islands and cays is one thing. To intelligently protect them and their inhabitants is another. There is no longer any mother country to blame for stuff. None to blame for the senseless killing of us by us nor our inability, thus far, to prevent. And the backward and senseless blaming of “Ralph” for everything is long past old and tired backward talk and thinking.

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So how did we get here? It was partly because preventative steps were not taken earlier on with a vision for where society is going based on the state of the world and our exposure to outside influences. This, and our wholesale acceptance of the productions of the scum of society in our own neighbourhood — people who we so backwardly call and deem to be artistes. Everything is not fun and games after all. All the smut that has been passing for entertainment on our air waves and our national sell out of morals to the world with no shame is beginning to bite us back in our behinds. It is almighty God who ultimately protects.  We can’t have our national cake and still eat it.

So, speaking of proactiveness, our local cops are now promising to grace us more with their presence and to be more visible. It makes perfect sense for them to prepare for the fact that criminals will be planning to frame them. If you can kill another human being, what else will you not be capable of? How they will actually interact with the public without bad words and in a respectable manner, everyone will be fully staying tuned to find out. Some Vincy policemen have been known to be insulting and disrespectful to law-abiding citizens. We can only pray these ones will mend their ill-mannered ways if they want to recover their reputation in times to come. They need to certainly stop making it difficult for those officers who are respectful, dedicated and fair.

On this trend of proactiveness, there are a few things which its supporting visionaries ought not to miss.

Regular visits by policemen and women to educational institutions in SVG where our nation’s youth can become accustomed to positively and casually interact with law enforcement is needed. Driver’s education is yet to hit our local schools. It will be beneficial for all as it will give our local cops a chance to hear from the perspective of our youth about their realities while fostering a healthier atmosphere of trust and approachability. It is high time for our Ministry of Education and RSPF to work together for the future safety, security and sound citizenship in SVG.

Another area where crime is subtly festering is among labourers and skilled workers who work “for themselves”. Some of these individuals may not have had a completed formal education. There are nationals and non-nationals who are thus involved. What some of their legal immigration statuses are in fact is never really clear.  With few trade courses here and training as to how to handle their fiscal affairs, the incidents of disgruntled feelings between clients and workers are more common than satisfaction on the sides of both parties. There is soft crime festering within the malpractices of these skilled and unskilled workers. Getting your electrical appliances services, repaired or construction work done will give much insight into what is passing as good and fair business practices with this cross section of workers in SVG.

We are no longer a mainly banana agricultural state. This is currently the nature of the livelihoods of a significant number of workers in SVG. However, there are no guidelines to protect clients and worker alike. Before more abuse, and resulting crimes our authorities need to be proactive.

So, CWSA and Vinlec metre readers can no longer be expected to be identified just by a uniform shirt. Public health officers as well. The same goes for labourers and other workers. These individuals need more accountability by their parent companies for whom they work as well as to law enforcement. Every one of these workers if required to register in a data base through and with their contractors with their local police stations and given official photo IDs will ensure that these abuses do not escalate to confrontational crimes. Non-nationals must be required to have the relevant licenses and respect the Vincentian graces. It is no longer acceptable for the progressive society we hopefully envision to be satisfied with ‘mauby shop’ type mentality and practices on every level of society.

It is clear that accountability breeds responsibility and a lack of it breeds criminal behaviour. Vincentians should not be living in intimidation and fear of the repercussions from these individuals if they address unfair services and charges by them. Homeowners need to be able to call a number to verify their legitimacy with relevant authorities.

Our public transport system is another crime-filled entity. It might not be frequent murders, but our authorities have to be absolutely weak and blind to not see where this has been going on for too long with the chronic law breaking. Why are they pussyfooting around this national problem? When Vincentians feel afraid to voice their feelings to drivers and conductors, this intimidation and silently threatening atmosphere amounts to citizen abuse and a violation of human rights. Do we really value our uniqueness in the Caribbean? Or are we beginning to take some kind of silly pride in becoming like the others? We are losing our reputation on every hand and tourism is supposed to be the big thing on the horizon.

The headache of traffic in contemporary SVG life is a “cross” for everybody. When will we see and plan for our educational institutions to be moved out of the ‘little piece’ of town? No one wants to wait till some of these comfortable colonial minded chair warmers retire before we see Kingstown and our roads lightened up. Our government schools need to open Windward and Leeward branches. It is a no brainer. We simply cannot continue to drag all our youngsters to Kingstown on a daily basis. If we are going to still insist on doing outdated single-gendered schools in this country, we will simply have to have them on both sides of the island? The mindset that only town schools can produce successful adults out of our young has been proven a long time ago as inaccurate and needs to be further stomped on. Let equality and respect reign from shore to shore, not just peace. Kingstown is tolerated by this nation. No one leaves it feeling better than they entered. It is amounting to abusive on our children to commute them through our present traffic daily to schools there. It is contributing to much discomfort and brewing more criminal behaviour on our roads. We will never decrease a lot of the hostility on our public transport system if this is not addressed by someone brave enough to say let’s find the funding and do this. It might be another airport project in the minds of many, but have we not proven we can do that and doing more?

These are some of the visions forward thinking authorities will open their minds to in line with common sense, crime prevention and safety in our villages and on our national roadways. It is time we stop hearing it can’t work right alongside the problems staring us in our faces.

Let us all lend our support and prayers to our law enforcement and other supporting authorities in SVG. Crime prevention is everyone’s responsibility. There needs to be much collaboration and the ‘us and they’ mentality needs to be eradicated.  It is equally important that we listen to hear and stop allowing egos to trump fairness and justice in law enforcement.

The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

One reply on “Visionary law and order in SVG”

  1. I read this article and found that there were many interesting ideas mentioned, but found the article was all over the place.

    I recorded several issues from your article, but I am not going back to review them, especially since this recent murder in Layou.

    Ralph is responsible for the nation’s security and anything that happens on his watch is also on his plate. I believe I saw where you blame some people for the increase in crime, like entertainers I totally disagree. I hope I am wrong because many entertainers tell people stories that others are afraid to do.

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