By Caribbean News Global contributor
VIEUX FORT, St Lucia – Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday – the most important religious celebrations in the life of Catholics and Christianity, proved that at the slightest opportunity, the savagery and brutality associated with the underworld (drug trafficking gang violence, money laundering) continued in Vieux Fort, Saint Lucia.
According to one report, “On Holy Saturday, April 8, the presence of the police officers wasn’t as noticeable in Vieux-Fort as in previous days.”
The result is four homicides over the weekend. One male in Cedars Heights; Two in the Mang, Tara Joseph, 47, aka Lucess and her grandson, Kentrell Joseph, 2 years old. And on Easter Sunday, 47-year-old Nicole Charles of Bruceville.
Minister for Finance, Economic Development, and the Youth Economy and Minister for Justice and National Security, Philip J Pierre, test drive police vehicle, March 29, 2023.
It makes no difference, as reported previously, neither the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) nor the Regional Security System (RSS) and now designating Vieux Fort (South) an ‘escalated crime area,’ until May 16, 2023, can quite or solve the drug war, gang violence, money laundering and the underground economy that has engulfed the Southern corridor of the island.
Easter Monday’s planned Vieux Fort Family Fun and Sports activity was postponed, according to organisers.
In response to the latest triple murders in Vieux Fort, the minister for finance, economic development, and the youth economy and minister for justice and national security, Philip J Pierre, said: “As we mourn this tragedy, we must not cower to these monsters. We must come together as a nation to address these senseless reprisal killings.”
In practical terms, the happenings in Vieux Fort are beyond ‘senseless reprisal killings,” and is of knowledge to the lessor of intelligence and street credibility.
In literal terms, the carnage is secondary, in terms of collateral damage. The result of the primary functions of drug trafficking, gang violence, and money laundering – classified as business and commerce.
It is a tragedy that persons of influence, politicians, and policymakers, over the years facilitated the socio-economic fantasy of dependency, cronyism, and political patronage.
It is with merit that a major rethinking, capital, and development plan is long overdue. And it is also reasonable that aspects of a plan should have been presented in the 2023/2024 budget to offset the criminal equation, that will continue to control Vieux Fort.
In the context of criminality and lawlessness in Vieux Fort and the hotspots that flare up throughout Saint Lucia, the question remains: Who’s next? Is it politicians and policymakers? What is the crime management and implementation plan?
The clueless demonstration of national security and law enforcement should have by now resulted in the resignation of politicians, ministers of government, and policymakers. However, this is not practical in Saint Lucia. Thus, if politicians ministers of government, and policymakers, cannot lead by example, you cannot expect ordinary citizens to cause more jeopardy to themselves and family.
The platitudes of patronage misplaced outrage, elevated arrogance, and ego – need to be replaced with competence, management, vision, and a sense of direction.
Minister for Finance, Economic Development, and the Youth Economy and Minister for Justice and National Security, Philip J Pierre, deliver remarks on March 29, 2023, handing over a fleet of motor vehicles to RSLPF.
A furious backlash seems on the horizon. Saint Lucia is becoming a basket case with horrendous internal security, a non-functional justice system, criminal courts, and a society of lawyers that are seemingly bashful.
The RSS cannot stay on the island indefinitely. The RSLPF is an optic of law enforcement, that is exceptionally inadequate, in equipment, operations, and leadership.
Notwithstanding the economic situation and the numerical equation of a budget surplus, the reality is a socio-economy buttressed on corruption, for the basics of life. The result is out in the open. There is nothing to see and nothing is done of significance – to counter security concerns, inflation, healthcare, domestic and foreign trade, and infrastructure development.
In this self-inflicted catastrophe, questioning authorities are a legitimate start to register their chronic impact.