Editorial
September 13, 2022
Another awful tragedy amidst spate of fatal shootings. Will a gun amnesty help?

OUR CONDOLENCES go out to the relatives of the victims of the tragic accident in the Old Sandy Bay area over the weekend.We do hope that the police investigation would not only come to conclusions about the cause but would also provide valuable pointers for avoidance in the future.

The tragic accident occurred when our society is trying to grapple with the latest spate of fatal shootings, a growing scourge in our society.We have enough on our hands already to have to cope with senseless murders and deadly abuse of firearms in our society.

In fact today, we can virtually reprint our comments made in our Editorial of July 22 on the matter entitled GUNS AND MURDER.Then, when many were looking at the ‘Whodunnit’ and the identity of the victims, with the customary wail of “What St Vincent come to”, we placed our emphasis on the problem of illegal guns.

We quote : “One major concern very often overlooked is the uncomfortable fact of the use of guns, illegal weapons at that, in committing these crimes. It is one of the disturbing elements of modern life which has contaminated Caribbean society in recent times. More worrying is the abuse of the Internet to spread deadly ideas about murder and the all too frequent news from our neighbour to the north about the use of guns in mass murder. “

Some years ago the presence of illegal firearms “on the streets” as it was said, was of such national concern that the Government introduced a Gun Amnesty which has long expired.We are not sure how successful the amnesty was, but in light of the continuing use of illegal weapons in murders, particularly in the brazen murders of young men, we suggest that perhaps the initiative can be revisited analytically.

In the opinion of the Government and the security forces, was that Amnesty considered a success, not just in terms of weapons recovered, but moreover in terms of its impact on the use of such weapons in committing murders? What were the lessons learnt from the Amnesty? Is it a viable strategy in fighting violent crime?

There are also related aspects. For instance, what does the police experience tell us about the origin of such illegal weapons and how has that experience helped in trying to prevent the proliferation of such potential weapons of death?

There is already much evidence of the need for anger management strategies among our young people. Easy access to illegal weapons can prove to be a deadly cocktail in such circumstances.

It is a complex situation with no easy answers but at least we need to re-examine what has worked and what has not as a guide to future action.We cannot, as we are prone to do as a society, sit back and wait for dangerous underlying currents to swamp us before we react, every possible preventive measure must be explored.Those proven successful need to be strengthened and ineffective tactics abandoned.

We have our nation to protect and our youth to guide on to productive paths.