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Central Kingstown MP, St. Clair Leacock in a Jan. 31, 2024 photo.
Central Kingstown MP, St. Clair Leacock in a Jan. 31, 2024 photo.
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Opposition spokesperson on national security, St. Clair Leacock says gangs continue to operate in St. Vincent and the Grenadines although the police and government authorities know the members and their various roles.

He questioned why the government is not dismantling the gangs despite information in the public domain about their activities. 

The lawmaker raised the issue on his New Democratic Party’s (NDP) radio programme on Tuesday as the country recorded its second homicide in as many days.

By Wednesday, SVG had recorded a third homicide in as many days, taking the count this year to 21.

Leacock noted that some residents of the country use the expression “Where here is?” or the more explicit, “St. Vincent is not a real place.”

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“It’s a haven for crime of violence,” Leacock said on “New Times” on NICE Radio and prayed God that the country does not record 20 more homicides this year — following the record 55 in 2023.

“But the New Democratic Party’s saying we will do something about it. I mean, some of the things are incomprehensible,” Leacock said.

“Why do you hear, why do I hear, why the police commander can hear, why the Minister of National Security can hear that this one is the head, foot, arm, ear, nose, teeth,  throat of a particular gang? 

“Why can we have those kinds of feedback? Why can we have a sense of what is the placement of that person within a situation and who is innocent and who is not innocent and who was involved and who’s not involved, or what is the nature of, whether this is reprisal, or whether this is this and that and the other? So, why we’re not mashing up the gang? Why we’re not deal with them?”

He said the country needs “a more highly motivated police force to do its job”.

Leacock said police officers’ working conditions have to be adjusted.

“We have to make them feel that what they’re involved in is not only important but that all citizens are dependent upon them to deliver good service.

“Just like all of us depend on 11 guys on the field of cricket now to give us a feel-good feeling, we have to make them understand that,” he said. 

“So we have to reward them. We have to provide them with the tools to do their job. We have to make demonstrative that we are not involved in day-to-day interference of the police high command so that they are fearful of making what should be genuine police decisions. 

“And they don’t have to be compromising and or accommodating political operatives, because the man you lock up or your pick up might be partisan to a particular unit. We have to do all of those things.”

Leacock said that most of the serious crimes in the country are concentrated in the south of St. Vincent, namely from South Leeward to East St. George.

Leacock, noted that the government has said that this is the richest part of the country, but he pointed out that most of these crimes take place in depressed areas.

“It is a community, a village that is depressed or is affected by the lack of employment opportunities. Simply put, poverty abounds, there’s plenty of it. Yet we bury our head, like the ostrich in the proverbial sand,” Leacock said.

He said one of his practices as a political representative is to “close down” his constituency on weekends.

“So we make a lot of what we call blocks and shops visits. It gives you a good temperature of the constituency, and of things St. Vincent, when you hear from the salt of the earth, the man on the ground. 

“They know what’s happening. And sometimes you try to do it in very careful ways. And you get up to speed. You’ll say, ‘Boy, why so and so got killed? What’s happening? What’s going on?’

“And individuals with all the caution in the world, without wanting to expose themselves will give you stories of X, Y & Z that’s happening or is not happening in the constituency. You get the heads up.”

Leacock said that is not unique to him, adding that other MPs get similar feedback to go along with their own sense of what is happening. 

Increasingly, the statements that are coming back to us now, is that this is a question in many parts as a result of joblessness,” Leacock said.

“Not worthlessness, although there’s always that element, but joblessness; nothing happening, that the poverty situation, the absence of something to do, as we will call it is negatively impacting, indeed, motivating or providing an incentive for a lot of the brethren to involve themselves … negatively, influencing our young men to the life of crime.”.

Leacock said that too many young people rather than threatening to harm, as had been the case traditionally, are harming others. 

“Too many of our young people now not going to say, ‘I bet.’ They’re doing it,” he said.

“It is clear, very clear that we have to lay the escalation in crime and violence in St. Vincent and the Grenadines at the feet of the government regime, at the Unity Labour Party and at the hands of the Minister of National Security. 

“It is not only that he doesn’t say anything about it or speaks silently on it. In too many instances,  there’s also a turning the other way, or misleading entreaties to us, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

In October 2017, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, who is also minister of national security, said there were no gangs in SVG.

He identified five “associational groupings with criminal activity” operating across the country. 

4 replies on “Leacock asks why gov’t not ‘mashing up the gangs’”

  1. Urlan Alexander says:

    The government is somewhat complicit with the rapid rise of gangs in svg. It is beleived that many of these gangs are being used to provide “protection” of some sort to certain individuals in high places. Instead of the government cooperate with all the stakeholders to deal with the crime issues in SVG; Instead the PM is finding time to criticised those who highlight the issue.

  2. Just saying says:

    You are so right sane ole same ole when there’s a murder. “We can assure you that we are doing our best to bring justice, my condolences to the family of the victim and we are asking anyone with information to come forward” that’s the police. But nothing from the MP’s or the national minister of security. But they can say how the opposition lie but yet they can’t say what lies the opposition telling. Point blank the just don’t care.

  3. Dem ah talk bout school and graduation and sue but no talk bout d mudda rate. Dey using sycallogy to get d young votes.

    Young minds yo tink dey love or kay bout you….fake! Ah votes dey looking fah.

    Wise up young minds. Yo smarter dan dat. Words ah comfat to ah fool.

  4. St. Clair Leacock you pledged to help Velox and John win their seats. Make that pledged to help Government mash up the gangs, they are many in your constituency, instead of gloating when ever a Homicide is committed.
    Remember you are a bad boy, don’t forget.

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