Advertisement 87
Advertisement 211
Advertisement 219

By Seithroy Edwards

You hear it all the time, the increasing number of unsolved murders is contributing to the increase in homicides committed in SVG. Occasionally we are told that there is an annual decrease in the number of crimes committed in the country. Is this really the case, or is there an increasing number of unreported crimes because some citizens believe that their report will be brushed aside? We hear of instances where people who went to police stations to make reports were chased away or there was a refusal to take the report. It is not surprising, therefore, that an increasing number of people are recording their interaction with the police.

In this regard an article from another Caribbean country may provide some insight.        

Being constantly harassed and threatened by a villager for over 16 years, I have witnessed first-hand the declining standard and effectiveness of policing. Other people, including a retired police officer, shared this concern with me. An article in the local media on Dec. 1, 2023 regarding crimes against sailors spoke to the issue of law enforcement officers not demonstrating a willingness to act on information provided. The manner in which the last incident I reported to the police was dealt with left me wondering if I will be included in the 2024 homicide statistics.

After about a week of taunting us that he was going to repaint my concrete wall fence, a villager did so on Oct. 7, 2023, and subsequently threatened to end my life. Two of the phrases used were: “So if you bin meet the man dey, way you would ah do um? Boy ah the last day you would ah live.”  and “Boy watch, ah would ah let go the seven ah dem in ah yo and everybody fo yo…”. On Nov. 3, 2023, he added clarity to “the seven ah dem” when he instructed a resident at his house to wrap the gun in two plastic bags and hide it. These statements are recorded on video, so it will be futile for him to deny them. He denies almost every factual statement that is made about his constant harassment and threats.  Multiple times he made death threats to us. On three occasions, following reports made to the police, his premises was searched for an illegal firearm, but none was found. I am confident that the three senior police officers who authorised those searches would not have done so if there was any doubt regarding the credibility of the reports.

Advertisement 271

In 2019, legal proceedings were instituted against him for threatening language under section 165 of the Criminal Code, but he was acquitted of the charge. I believe that the outcome would have been different if we had security cameras installed at that time.

The fractured relationship with this villager started with his wife telling my wife that Indians should not marry black people, a statement supported by her husband when my wife complained to him.  Following this, decaying fruits and other garbage began appearing in our veranda and yard. The villager started threatening my wife and subsequently me. He has continued with all sorts of spiteful acts to this day. While he may deny this and other similar statements as being true, it will be futile for him to dispute that a member of his household wrote with paint on the side of his house in 2022, “I hate your black people”. This was perhaps to serve as a permanent reminder after they got tired of making similar statements without getting any response from us.

In 2007 and several times thereafter, he said that he will torment us until we are dead. Towards the end of 2019, we installed several security cameras on our property. This has curtailed most of the throwing of garbage and water into our veranda and yard and has allowed us to capture some video and audio of noteworthy events.

So why is this first-hand account relevant to the crime situation and policing? From 2007, when we thought it necessary to report these incidents to the police, they have told us in many instances that they “warned him”. It was not until I wrote a letter to the commissioner of police in 2012 and we began engaging the superintendent of the South Central Division that there was any deterrence that caused him to curtail his spiteful acts. From 2020, we began experiencing difficulty to get the officer in charge of the Mesopotamia Police Station to take any action. That was even the case in 2023 when the villager brought a large garbage bag half with garbage and threw it at the side of the road in front of our property. We had video evidence of him doing it.  I called at the police station, and my wife had to call subsequently before two constables were sent. They spoke with us, then with the villager, and then they took away the garbage. After the police left the villager was very jubilant about what he had done.

Towards the end of 2018 he painted the wall of my fence. I subsequently wrote a sign with white paint requesting that he refrains from doing so. Less than two months later, he painted over the sign. When I reported the matter to the officer in charge of the Mesopotamia Police Station I was told, “Is a wall you guys fighting over?”

It is very probable that the offender was not even told that what he did was illegal. Section 297 of the Criminal code says that it is an offence, and I am confident that the officer knows this. Later that year, 2020, he made a false report to the police about me. A constable was sent to investigate the report. After his investigation the constable warned the villager not to interfere with my wall.

The villager painted up my wall on Oct. 7, 2023. I reported the incident to the officer in charge of the Mesopotamia Police Station. Again, he did nothing. I wrote to the Superintendent of the South Central Division, requesting his intervention. My wife and I followed up with several calls to the Calliaqua Police Station and left messages for the superintendent, and got no response from him. Three and a half weeks after the incident, a constable from the Mesopotamia Police Station called at my home and left a message to inform me that the matter I reported to the police is a civil matter and I need to contact a lawyer, which I did.

More than six weeks after the event the same constable came to my gate and informed me that the superintendent wanted me to meet with him at the police Station. Twenty minutes after the scheduled time for that meeting, my wife and I were informed that the superintendent had another engagement and could not attend. We were given a new date for the meeting. The day before that second scheduled meeting, we were informed of another postponement to a date to be determined. Nothing has happened since.

Ownership of the wall is not really a disputed issue.

Clearly, the manner in which the police disregarded my complaint is likely to embolden this villager. If he really has a gun and decides to carry out his threat; would it be regarded as anything other than gross police negligence?

I am using this forum to call attention to the increasing unwillingness of some police officers to intervene in law enforcement matters, and to encourage those who carry out lawful activities in law enforcement to continue doing so even when they face criticism. Also, our human diversity in little St. Vincent and the Grenadines should never give rise to spreading feelings of hate, and every effort must be made to dislodge them wherever they exist, for the good of the wider society; not conceal them.

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 “Some cops’ wilful negligence emboldens criminals”

  1. This is the same thing happened to my family in Stubbs back in 2015. A guy was threatening my relative over and over my relative made report after report to the stubbs police station and the suspect never get arrested. The suspect killed my relative and get away still free till this day.Most of the police it’s seems only joined the force for a paycheck.

Comments closed.