November 5, 2004
Fighting crime, a collective task

This past weekend, local security forces were out in full as they began a renewed crackdown on crime.

This came hot on the heels after an announcement by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves in the House of Assembly last week Thursday.

It was indeed a bold move by the Prime Minister. He made no bones about his war on crime. He seemed a man angry that a society, on which progress is based on stability, had become threatened by what he persistently referred to as a minority of criminals. {{more}}

Dr. Gonsalves was insistent that the space for the operation of the criminals be narrowed. His sentiments appeared to have struck a chord of harmony with most Vincentians.

However, there have been criticisms that too much authority has been placed in the hands of police officers.

Rumblings of inappropriate action by individuals within the constabulary have been shaking the ground from time to time. No one has ever investigated those reports. More shocking and even more puzzling still was a statement made by former Commissioner of Police Randolph Toussaint about the presence of criminals within the ranks of our police force. But the police remain the only arm of legal authority designated to protect the State. If there is any question about their integrity, it leaves the very fabric of our system of law and order in tatters and the existence of such noble traits upon which justice evolves will be reasons for citizens to worry.

Getting to grips with any situation of crime has never and will never be an easy proposition for any nation, moreso for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Our history is fraught with instances of injustice that seems to spurn the cycle of violence.

The lessons are plain for us to gather what tips we can from the ongoing situation. But it takes a long time for the wheel of justice to turn, but turn it will, no matter how slowly.

The entire justice system is due a review. Adjustments along the lines of constitutional reform will underline the gravity of the situation. Vincentians are crying for peace, justice and freedom. The task is a Herculean one, and everyone has to be prepared to play his or her part. It must be an entire community affair. The depth and level of understanding

of crime have to be appreciated by


But there has to be a reason for the season and we have to all make efforts to be our brother’s keeper. The police alone cannot do the job, not today, not tomorrow, nor ever. The officers, in their quest to protect law-abiding citizens, have to be careful that they do not lose favour with the people. Their job is never going to be easy. We therefore urge responsibility while our police strive to serve and protect the wider society. We can do it together.