October 15, 2004
Zero tolerance for crime, congrats to our police

Our men and women in uniform, those who dare to undertake tasks which many of us frown on, many times criticize, and so often do not give due recognition to, have over the past two weeks, been giving us all reason to be justly proud. Over this period, our officers from the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force have had a very successful stint on the job. {{more}} It was their successes in arresting, among others, four of sister state Grenada’s most wanted escaped criminals, which caused us to refer to them on last weekend’s front page as a “Crack Force.”

This week started for our police with the arrest at sea, in fact, off Pigeon Island near Bequia, of six Venezuelans who have since been charged with both the possession and importation of 35 lbs of cocaine. These men have been remanded and will have their day in court early November. The war against drugs must continue.

This week also, the police captured several more criminals wanted by Grenadian authorities. These Grenadians are all reported to have escaped from their jail cells during the ravaging of Grenada by Hurricane Ivan. So, while we were hard at work sending relief supplies down south, these men were busy finding their way north to our friendly shores. They have been connected to the robbery of one gas station last weekend. Thankfully, soon, they should be back in the custody of their appointed guardians.

Over this period as well, the police were able to secure confessions and convictions from two persons who had been terrorizing residents in the wider Prospect suburbs. Now those residents are not only going to sleep easier, but they have formed themselves into another Neighbourhood Watch.

That latter case placed on the front burner a growing issue which we as a society have to deal with, that of juvenile criminals and crime. It was pure coincidence that a 15 year old was picked up in the Prospect case the same weekend another adolescent of the same age was taken into custody in the tragic case of the stabbing death of a 13 year old schoolboy. There is a growing incidence of juvenile crime in our midst. The issue, therefore, is where are we going to house these young offenders? What are we going to do with them? Our already overcrowded facility in Kingstown is no place for young ones who certainly need rehabilitation.

In this issue, and in the quest to keep down crime, and to arrest law breakers, our police need our help. No doubt the successes of the police in recent times are due to both hard work on their part and close collaboration between private citizen and lawmen. This needs to continue. We cannot allow any breathing space for the continued activities of criminals and those who support them. To crime, our attitude must be a collective zero tolerance.

Today, we commend the efforts of our police. Now is the time for us to work closer together in arresting the development of negative behaviours in our society.