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Police remove a cordon after processing the scene in Ottley Hall on March 19, where Camran Miller, was shot and killed by an unknown assailant.
Police remove a cordon after processing the scene in Ottley Hall on March 19, where Camran Miller, was shot and killed by an unknown assailant.
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Too many mothers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are single parents because of gun violence, says Deputy Commissioner of Police Frankie Joseph as he pleaded with residents of Ottley Hall and Edinboro to hand in their illegal weapons.

Gun violence has left several men in the West Kingstown communities dead or nursing injuries over the last few months.

The last came last Tuesday when Camran Miller aka Bogie was shot dead under a shed along the roadside around 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

That same night, gunmen went to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital and made another attempt to end the life of Connell Jack, 26, of Ottley Hall, who was warded there because of gunshot injuries he sustained in his village two days earlier.

“We have too many single parents in St. Vincent and the Grenadines all because of unlicensed firearms,” Joseph told a town hall meeting in Edinboro that was planned before the latest acts of violence.

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“We have so many mothers who are rearing their children alone. Why? because the fathers have been killed by unlicensed firearms,” he told the forum, one of several being held across the country to promote the gun and ammunition amnesty, which runs through May 31.

“And there [is only] so much that a single-parent mother can do especially when it comes to young boys. Because you need that father figure in the home to give these young guys, young boys certain guidance,” the deputy police chief said.

He said that in the absence of a father figure in the home, young males look for guidance from other young men.

“And most of the time, in a lot of the cases, they look to guidance from the wrong set of people who would mould them into criminals and encourage them to get involved in criminal activities.

“So, we are definitely calling on the people of Edinboro and Ottley Hall to surrender their firearms.”

Frankie Joseph
Deputy Commissioner of Police Frankie Joseph speaking at the police town hall meeting in Edinboro on Thursday, March 21, 2024.

4 firearms, 52 rounds handed over

Joseph said that since the amnesty commenced, four firearms and 52 rounds of ammunition were surrendered to the authorities.

“So, we are hoping that this amnesty is going to be successful because we want to rid the streets of these illegal firearms.

“We want the residents not only of Ottley Hall and Edinboro, but the residents of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to be able to feel safe in their homes. And not only in their homes, to be able to walk in their communities and feel safe.”

He said people should be able to leave their homes at night to go to church and feel comfortable that they will get back to their homes safely.

“We want the young men and the young woman in the various communities to feel safe that they can go to parties and get back whether two, three o’clock [in the morning] without being so fearful that they might lose their lives on their way back home.”

Joseph appealed to parents and guardians to encourage their children or wards to surrender any unlicensed firearm or ammunition in their possession.

He reminded the town hall meeting that SVG recorded 55 homicides last year, 52 of which were classified as murders.

“But interestingly 43 of those were committed by the use of illegal firearms,” he said, noting that several people survived their firearm injuries.

“… we are too small a country to have so many unlawful firearms in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

Joseph noted that unlike 20 years ago when the last amnesty was held, holders of unlicensed firearms can also surrender their weapons to a justice of the peace, minister of religion, member of the House of Assembly or lawyer.

“And the important thing about this amnesty is that it is a no-question-asked amnesty. … they cannot even ask you your name, where you live or your telephone number. Because that is what we put into the document,” Joseph said.

He said that in addition to firearms and ammunition, people can surrender any part of a firearm.

The deputy police chief said that a person can walk into any police station or even into his office, put a firearm on the desk and say they want to hand it in as part of the amnesty and then go about their business.

“They cannot call you back to say ‘Come! Come! Come! Come! What is your name? … There will be absolutely no prosecution for you,” he said.

The senior police officer noted that the authorities are drafting stricter gun laws to come into effect after the firearm amnesty.

Currently, a person caught with an unlicensed firearm can be sentenced to 14 years in prison, a fine of EC$20,000, or both.

Clauston Francis
Head of the Criminal Investigations Department, Superintendent of Police Clauston Francis speaking at the police town hall meeting in Edinboro on Thursday, March 21, 2024.

‘a small minority’ of criminal tarnishing communities

Meanwhile, speaking at the same meeting, the head of the Criminal Investigations Department, Superintendent of Police Clauston Francis said “a small minority” of persons in Ottley Hall and Edinboro are engaged in criminal activities and tarnish their communities.

Francis noted that Olando Guy, 36, Dwayne Banfield, 34, Symcy Williams, Keith Davis and Camran Miller were shot and killed in the Ottley Hall-Edinboro area since December.

“And these are the things that concern us at CID. And these men — young men, our young men in the prime of their lives,” the chief detective said.

“You may know why they lost their lives. But for me, as head of CID, most of these guys were innocent people,” he said, adding that while Williams was known to the police, the others only came to the attention of the police when they were killed.

“How did you feel, Edinboro? Young men lost their lives and all of them died with the use of firearms and some of them died high daytime, in the morning when you’re taking your children to school, they met their death.”

Francis said it bothers him that children witness some of these deaths.

“It is not right. What do you tell your children when they ask you, ‘Mommy, what was that?’

“When you hear a ‘bow! bow! bow!’ or ‘bang! bang! bang!’ … when they see the dead man lying on the ground and the children ask you, ‘Mommy, who is that person?’ What will your answer be? How will you respond? How do you feel to see that your kids are seeing these things? And it grieves my heart as a father,” Francis said.

“Children are our future. They should not be allowed to live in a community where persons are dying in their presence. As a community, we have to stand up. I’m begging you. I’m encouraging you to stand up and take back your community from criminals,” Francis said.

“Too many guns in these communities. And some persons are hiding the guns for the criminals. And it might be you today and maybe your relatives tomorrow or the next day. So, it affects everybody,” Francis said.

7 replies on “Guns leaving too many children fatherless in SVG — Deputy CoP”

  1. C. ben-David says:

    Nonsense. Most children, male and female, were raised in fatherless households before the growing epidemic in murders in the last couple of decades. Moreover, most of the victims and perpetrators of murder come from already fatherless homes.

    This dumb cop needs a crash course in criminology.

  2. But what did the officer said that was wrong. Please bro make a positive contribution. SVG is crying because of the blood shed.

    Please please make positive comments and contribute to the solutions.

    1. C. ben-David says:

      GT and Jonathan, kindly inform a dunce like me what was factually wrong with my comments which, by the way, neglected to mention another obvious fact, namely that hardly any single mother households produce any killers or any lawless people.

      Still, a much higher proportion of murders are a product of households with absentee and indifferent fathers.

  3. Guns don’t kill, guns are not violent. People are violent. People kill. That must first be understood and acknowledged before we can stem the violence which is followed by killings, death and destruction. Refocus the energy on building social structures and communities and families. We have to identify and attack the root causes of violence which pervades our communities. If we neglect to put the emphasis on the environment within which children are born and raised, and invest in social development across the board, gun amnesty and the like is a waste of limited resources and the wrong target (no pun intended).

  4. Betty Mc Donald says:

    C. Ben David, pay particular attention to the heading of the article: “Guns leaving too many children fatherless in SVG.” So while it’s true that most children may be raised in fatherless households, the situation is made even worse when continued gun use results in MORE households becoming fatherless – it becomes “too many” as the article heading states. Why not suggest some practical things that can be done to help the cops curb gun violence in Edinboro, Ottley Hall, and anywhere else?

  5. C Ben-David do you have any shame? Do you have a conscience?
    There is an old saying that rings true
    “Ignorance is a curse.”

  6. Unlicensed firearms do not kill people, it is the holders of these firearms, that being said we need to find some way for young men to blow off steam and resolve differences in non violent ways.

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