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Superintendent of Police Kamecia Blake plays a game with children in South Rivers on Thursday, April 18, 2024.
Superintendent of Police Kamecia Blake plays a game with children in South Rivers on Thursday, April 18, 2024.
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The police officer in charge of the district in which South Rivers is located has emphasised the historically peaceful reputation of the community, where a man was killed on March 26.

Superintendent of Police Hesran Ballantyne, commander of the Eastern Division, told a police town hall meeting in the village that detectives are working hard to solve the killing of Quentin Harvey Hackshaw.

Hackshaw was found dead sometime around 11 p.m. lying in the road leading to Byrea with multiple injuries to his back

An autopsy found that the body had multiple sharp-point injuries to the torso and blunt force trauma to the head.

The town hall meeting on Thursday was part of a community engagement that included a walk-through of the village. 

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The initiative aimed to provide the residents of South Rivers with a platform to express their views, the Police Public Relations and Complaints Department said in a press release.

“The event was a direct response to recent concerns about safety in the area, and it allowed police to listen to the community’s concerns,” the department.

Ballantyne described recent violent incidents in South Rivers as uncharacteristic and stressed the importance of community cooperation in crime reporting under the mantra, “If you see something, say something.”

Hesran Ballantyne
Superintendent of Police Hesran Ballantyne, commander of the Eastern Division, addresses the town hall meeting in South Rivers on Thursday, April 18, 2024.

The senior police officer also addressed the issue of praedial larceny, urging villagers to discourage such offences by purchasing rather than stealing produce from farmers.

In his remarks, acting Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in charge of crime, Trevor Bailey emphasized the crucial role of partnership between the community and law enforcement in effectively addressing crime.

He also commended Ballantyne and his team for their exemplary crime-solving record in the Eastern Division.

In 2023, Ballantyne’s team laid charges in connection with all of the homicides committed in the district.

Bailey cited this achievement as he appealed to the community’s sense of peace and heritage, reminding them of the temporary gains from crime versus the lasting negative impacts.

He further emphasised the importance of community involvement in maintaining public safety and reassured the village that solving crimes, especially murders, is a top priority.

The impressive results in 2023 as regards solving homicides in the area indicate the dedicated efforts of the police force, Bailey said.

He called for an end to the stigmatisation of people who cooperate with police investigations, asserting that being informed and informing the police about illegal activities should be viewed as an act of responsible citizenship.

Bailey also discussed the broader impact of crime on community cohesion and economic stability and encouraged the community to support and participate in initiatives like the three-month National Firearm Amnesty, which ends on May 31.

He said the amnesty was not only a measure to reduce the number of illegal weapons in the country but also as a way to foster a safer environment for everyone.

By turning in illegal firearms, residents directly contribute to decreasing the potential for violent incidents and enhancing overall community safety, Bailey said.

Trevor Bailey
Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in charge of crime, Trevor Bailey, addresses the town Hall meeting in South Rivers on Thursday, April 18, 2024.

Meanwhile, acting Commissioner of Police Enville Williams assured residents of the commitment of the police to working “shoulder to shoulder” with South Rivers.

He recounted his experiences in the 1990s working at the Colonarie police station, a time when residents could walk freely without fear.

The commissioner stressed the importance of maintaining this peaceful way of life and encouraged residents to report any individual who threatens their safety.

The police chief also condemned praedial larceny, saying everyone has the right to enjoy the fruits of their labour.

He also addressed concerns about the slow police response to reports, asserting that negligence in duty from officers would not be tolerated under his watch.

Williams also assured the community that favouritism has no place in the police force, adding that accountability is paramount.

Providing an update on the firearm amnesty, Williams said that 13 firearms and 219 rounds of ammunition had been surrendered so far.

Police in South Rivers
Acting Commissioner of Police Enville Williams, centre, and other senior police officers during their community engagement in South Rivers on Thursday, April 18, 2024.

He urged the community to encourage its residents to surrender their illegal firearms, noting the stiffer penalties that are slated to come into effect when the amnesty ends.

Williams reiterated the importance of strengthening the bond between the police and the community and ensuring that residents see the police not just as law enforcers but as partners in creating a safe and peaceful community.

Williams invited the residents to engage in ongoing communication with the police to address and mitigate community-specific issues, emphasising the need for a collaborative approach to maintaining safety and harmony within South Rivers.

Meanwhile, residents of the village raised several issues and also complimented the police on their service.

The police force said the event “underscored the vital role of community policing initiatives in fostering a collaborative environment where public safety and community welfare are jointly addressed.

“The RSVGPF remains committed to enhancing these interactions and building stronger relationships with all communities across St. Vincent and the Grenadines, ensuring a collective effort towards a safer and more harmonious society.”