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Assistant Superintendent of Police Nigel Butcher. speaking at the peace rally in Layou on Nov. 24, 2023.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Nigel Butcher. speaking at the peace rally in Layou on Nov. 24, 2023.
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The four killings in Layou over the last six weeks were the first homicides in the town since 2018.

And Assistant Superintendent of Police Nigel Butcher, the divisional commander of the policing district in which Layou is located, has called on residents of the town to partner with the police to stop the bloodshed.

“Ladies and gentleman, it breaks my heart as a resident of the Layou, as a born and bred Layou man … to inform you that since 2018, the community over the years has not recorded a single murder until this year,” Butcher told the peace march and rally in Layou on Friday.

“Unfortunately, we have recorded four in the last six weeks,” he said, noting that the most recent of the killings took place just the day before the march and rally — which had been planned before that slaying.  

“This bloodshed has to stop,” Butcher told the rally at the Layou Waterfront. “I repeat: this bloodshed has to stop.”

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The senior cop, however, said that the police alone cannot stop the killing.  

“The police alone cannot prevent crime. It takes the input up everyone; all hands on deck,” he said.

“So, today, I am calling on all of you to join with the police to stamp out crime and violence in Layou and in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on a whole. Stop sheltering the criminal. Stop covering for them,” Butcher said.

“You know that. Some of you know that. You are covering for the criminals and you are sheltering them. Stop doing that.  

“If you see or know something, please say something. Take us into your confidence and give us information that will assist us to solve these crimes. Yes, we are vigorously conducting our investigation. But we need your support. Without your support, we cannot successfully solve these crimes.”

The divisional commander said the killings have taken place at a time when crime in the community has fallen 7.4% compared to the same period of last year.

“That is something that we should be happy about, although one crime committed is one too many. However, as the divisional commander, I am still not satisfied with the statistics. So, we have to put some measures in place to address the problem.”

Butcher told the peace march and rally that the police have been working closely with Layou residents to ensure their safety and security and the protection of life and property. 

“We have formed alliances with neighbourhood watch groups and other organisations, in an effort to curb lawlessness and deviant behaviour in the community,” he said.

“I want to report that overall, in spite of the increase in the murders recently, there is a 7.4 for a reduction in reported crimes in Layou for the current period when compared to the same period in 2022,” Butcher told the event at the Layou Waterfront.

He said that police have increased their presence and visibility in the community. 

“We have stepped up our patrols and stop-and-searches, we are collaborating more with the community in general and the Layou Police Youth Club to stem this flow of crime,” Butcher said.  

“We have embarked on visits to schools to talk to children about the effects of crime and violence,” he said at the event, which was attended by students of pre- and primary schools in the town.

“Talking about children, I want to implore the parents of Layou: this is a problem that we have in this community. Love your children some tough love. You love them but you don’t love the wrong that they do,” the senior police officer said.

“Too many parents have failed to tell them when they are going wrong. And that is one of the problems that we have.”

Butcher said that the police have been meeting with victims of crime and their families to offer support and assurance.