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Homicide

St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) recorded another homicide today (Saturday) with the death of Olando Guy, 36, one of two men who were shot in Edinboro during an early morning attack.

Guy died while undergoing surgery at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH), the nation’s main healthcare facility.

Meanwhile, Joveka Gaymes, 27, whose brother, Leon Gaymes, 26, was gunned down in Layou two weeks ago, survived another attempt on his life when he was shot twice in the Central Leeward town.

Joveka was shot in the leg and back and was receiving medical attention at MCMH. His family told iWitness News recently that Joveka had been shot at on Oct. 30 as he made his way home in another section of the town.

On May 5, 2018, Joveka was shot in the mouth and three men who were charged in connection with that attack were freed of the charges.

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Meantime, police have upgraded to a murder investigation the inquiry they launched Saturday morning after Guy was shot, allegedly by a man who had had an altercation with one of his brothers.

Investigators launched a man hunt for the suspect who shot Guy as well a Dee-jay Howard, 29, both of Edinboro.

Reports are that there was a disagreement between the suspect and one of Guy’s brothers and as a result, the suspect accosted Guy and shot him.

The suspect is said to have come upon Howard while fleeing the scene and shot him also.

The homicide count in SVG now stands at 51 this year, taking it closer to the top of the list of countries as regards homicides per capita.

Jovika Gaymes
Joveka Gaymes in a 2018 photo while recovering for a gunshot to the face.. (iWN photo)

Meanwhile, Gaymes was rushed to hospital with gunshot wounds, exactly two weeks after his younger brother was gunned down in front of his girlfriend and their 3-year-old son.
The shooting came one week after police and residents of Layou held a peace march and rally there, intended to turn residents away from crime and strengthen the relationship with law enforcement.

Joveka was shot in broad daylight just over a week after police promised to improve their presence in the town, which has recorded its first homicides since 2018.

Leon’s murder had caused his sisters to question whether his death was the continuation of a “generational thing” as two of their maternal uncles were murdered in the Central Leeward town and another was jailed for 30 years murder over a decade ago.

Joveka and Leon were questioned in connection with the Nov. 5, shooting death of Tambu Patrick, who was gunned down in Layou even as he tried to seek refuge in a nearby house.

A friend of the Gaymes family had expressed concern that their arrest had made them a target amidst allegations that the killings in the town were in retaliation for each other.

His sisters had told iWitness News that the people who were suspected of orchestrating Leon’s murder had said that they would not stop until they kill Joveka also.

Joveka was shot even as his family prepared to bury Leon later this month.

Layou is also yet to bury Patrick as well as Jimodean “Jim” Sam, 45, who was gunned down along a lonely mountain road on Nov. 23, as he made his way home from his farm.

The killings began with the death of Delano “Smoke” Patrick, who was gunned down in the Central Leeward town on Oct. 16.

Meanwhile, at the march and rally in Layou last week Thursday, Nov. 23, Deputy Commissioner of Police Frankie Joseph said that the staff at the Rapid Response Unit base in Layou had been increased.

“And I want the people up here you to tell me whether or not they are seeing the police conducting foot patrols throughout Layou, because the officers that we sent to strengthen Layou RRU is specifically to do foot patrols, go through the community so that people would see the presence of the police,” Joseph said.

“If that is not happening, we need to know that it is not happening so that we would put things in place. And we will also be sending more officers to Layou.”

He said the entire community of Layou must be able to join with the police in fighting crime by giving information to the police.

“Crime-fighting is everybody’s responsibility. It is not just the police and the government,” Joseph said, adding, “If crime-fighting is left only up to the police and the government, we are not going to put the kind of dent we are supposed to put in crime.

“It means that we will have to be recruiting approximately 4,000 police officers to cover every square inch of St, Vincent and the Grenadines,” Joseph said.

SVG has over 1,200 police officers and a population of 110,000 people — above the global per capita average of police to civilians.

Frankie Joseph
Deputy Commissioner of Police Frankie Joseph speaking at the march and rally in Layou on Nov. 23, 2023.

Joseph said that the police force wants to forge a partnership with Layou, noting that the town had seen four murders in six weeks.

“That is totally unacceptable. So, it means that the community has to be a part of fighting crime with the police,” the senior police officer said, adding that he was not asking the community to be vigilantes.

“…  the police will not support and the police do not endorse being a vigilante,” the deputy police officer said.

He acknowledged that the police need to address the issue of confidentiality.

“If we are not confidential then we are putting persons’ lives and their families’ lives at risk,” he said, and told the audience that police officers are not supposed to inquire about people’s identity or location when they call a police station to give information about crime.

He said every person in SVG knows a police officer personally and can give that information to him or her.

“So, feel free to give the police officer whatever information you have. If you’re still not confident, you can call the commissioner of police’s phone or call any of the commissioners’ telephone numbers to give that information.”

Joseph said children live what they learn, adding, “The last thing we want is for the children of Layou to grow up and be violent because right now that is what is taking place.”

Joseph said the participation of the children in the rally is important “so that they can see that there is a different…”

He said the government has put measures in place to make witnesses feel safer and spoke about legal provision under which the court may give permission for witnesses to give evidence from an undisclosed location.

Additionally, their identity would be hidden and their voice modulated.