December 17, 2004
SVG still a safe place

Police Commissioner William Harry this week sought to assure the nation that this is still a safe country, notwithstanding the alarming rise in murders in 2004. The record number of senseless killings has shocked the nation, reinforced by the fact that we in the media have provided coverage of this unpleasant reality of our lives. And while there are those who say that we must de-emphasize this actuality, we feel it our responsibility to record these occurrences for posterity.{{more}}

The state of crime in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is not an occurrence that any of us can be proud of, but we must face it and together find solutions to stem the tide. We advise that there are no quick-fix solutions to stopping crime; just as the root causes are not by any means simple, readily analysed or understood.

Over the last few weeks, many laymen have come forward with opinions on what were the causes of crime. Many agreed that we have parenting problems while others apportion blame “on foreign influences”. Our society is evolving at a pace that very often we are slow to adapt to and, as a result, we find ourselves ill prepared to cope with what is thrown at us.

That is precisely what has been the situation with the type of crime we have been witnessing this year.

As Commissioner Harry said, a lot of it is connected to the drug culture and fighting for turf among a minority. This unfortunately gives the impression that we are living in a war zone and can have a negative impact of our tourism.

But do we as a people here “on the rock” really feel scared? Or are we just very concerned?

Notwithstanding the spike in gun related violence, we still feel largely safe in our environment. Most of the incidents we have been seeing have been targeted, though there have been incidents where innocent people have become victims.

It means that we can extend with confidence a genuine invitation to our neighbours and friends to visit St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We retain one of the most unique interpretations of the Saviour’s Birth anywhere in the world. Our Nine Mornings tradition is revived and beckons to all to come share the birth of Christ with us.

Yes we do have our problems, but we are a decent, peace-loving people who together can work to help stem the negative tide that has been threatening to pull us downstream.

SVG continues to be a safe environment; we all can help to make it even more so.