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Central Kingstown MP, St. Clair Leacock in a March 23, 2023 photo.
Central Kingstown MP, St. Clair Leacock in a March 23, 2023 photo.
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Central Kingstown MP St. Clair Leacock had accused critics of the New Democratic Party’s (NDP) crime statistic billboard at Gibson Corner of hypocrisy.

The billboard says there were 52 homicides in St. Vincent and the Grenadines last year and that the NDP has a plan to address crime in the country.

Leacock said that while some people have complained about the billboard, calling for it to be taken down, they have remained silent on political billboards erected by the ruling Unity Labour Party, and the government

“I haven’t heard them comment in an unrelenting way on the breaches of good political hygiene and protocol around several actions of the Unity Labour Party,” he said on the NDP’s show on NICE Radio.

Leacock noted that on March 1 SVG hosted the summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), which was paid for with taxpayers’ money.

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“They mounted billboards all over the country. Now, why the billboards for CELAC promotion had to have the Prime Minister’s face mounted on them?” Leacock said. 

“Is CELAC finished? Is it over? Is it done with? Are the billboards still up? And is he still in our face?” Leacock said of the billboards, all of which are still where they were erected before the summit.

“Does he have the permission of the Physical Planning Board? Have they asked him to take them down because there’s a political element to it?” Leacock said.

ULP billboards
The ULP billboards after they were burnt on the night of April 7, 2024.

“What’s the opprobrium over the billboards down at Frenches Gate, where you announce to the world that comes in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that you are a ‘World Boss’, that here in St. Vincent and Grenadines that you reign supreme,” he said of the ULP campaign billboards that have remained in place since before the 2020 general elections. 

He noted that Gonsalves has said that the billboards are on private land.

Leacock said he was a deputy chairman of the Physical Planning Board and the board must give permission before a political billboard could be mounted.

“… and they have a shelf life,” he said, adding that if a political party wants to mount billboards after an election, it has to get permission from the Physical Planning Board.

“So you’re impressing upon us that you applied to the Physical Planning Board, to put up your billboard,” Leacock said, adding that the ULP has billboards of its MPs in other parts of the country.

“You telling me that the government applied after the election to mount political billboards? And the chairman of the Physical Planning Board thought it was in good order, it made sense to have these billboards up?”

He added that the law says that if the Physical Planning Board does not grant permission, the Cabinet could override the board.

“And we know who they are and how they act and how they function,” Leacock said.

“They, therefore, would do the master’s bidding and if massa wants that masa gets that.”

He noted that one of the billboards proclaiming Gonsalves as “World Boss” was burnt down recently and was replaced.

“They did it again because they want to be in your face. So, what they’re saying, St. Vincent is run and operated by different standards.”

NDP billboard
The NDP billboard at Gibson Corner.

He said another vexing question about people calling for the billboard to be removed is that people do not want to deal with reality.

“Don’t lecture, the New Democratic Party on its approach to crime and violence,” he said and spoke of his work on the NDP’s Spiritual and Social Redemption Charter, which was intended to tackle crimes at the grassroots level by funding programmes that would turn youth away from crime.

“We took it to the Parliament by way of motion when we had a special privilege. It did not see the light of day, they did everything to shut it down,” Leacock said. 

He, however, said that as shadow minister for national security, he along with NDP President and Opposition Leader Godwin Friday and other party officials met with United Nations representatives two weeks earlier to outline the NDP’s understanding of the crime and violence in SVG.

“And they were here, because St. Vincent stood out, or stands out as a sore thumb with respect to the violence in this country, and they are searching for solutions to our crime and violence situations in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Leacock said.

he said the NDP delegation addressed the UN representatives “comprehensively on what we think is the cause and effect, what are the situation, what are the circumstances and what we intend to do about it”.

Leacock said the NDP had “good buy-in on our presentation.

“So, we’re not just sitting on our laurels. We’ve been walking the talk,” he said, adding that Israel Bruce, an NDP senator and spokesperson on agriculture, has outlined “a very innovative, practical approach” to dealing with praedial larceny.

“Because thiefing people food and produce is also a crime. Do you hear the ULP speaking about it? Do you hear them on it where the farmers in rural St. Vincent are losing their money? No,” Leacock said.

2 replies on “Furore over crime stats billboards shows Vincy hypocrisy — Leacock”

  1. Dunno what Leacock talking about.
    Everyone knows Ralf owns St.Vincent and the population are Tennants on his land

  2. Agustas Carr says:

    This billboard demonstrate insensitivity to the impact of violent crimes on SVG. Everywhere has crime, however it must never be politicised. More importantly, the approach to crime reduction must be by-partisan with common consensus. The most fundamental approach to crime reduction is the ability listen to everyone who have something to say. Even if it is coming from persons who we less favour. There is nothing wrong with both political parties agreeing on a common approach and framework to fixing SVG violent crime problem.

    In fact, as a law enforcement expert, I can tell you that crime reduction requires a wider conversation with all stakeholders. Not just a tactical response from the Police but a strategic response that encompasses the contribution of all stakeholders. This includes every ministry in government, the police, governmental and none governmental organizations, the private sector, learning instituhions, social scientist and communities at large.

    While the police have traditionally led on the development and implementation of a crime reduction strategies. This approach has now become absolete because in most cases the police do not have access to the resources nor the reach that is necessary to bring the situation under control. It would be a travesty not to extend the conversation to include all stakeholders.

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