Our crime situation again
April 16, 2024

Our crime situation again

It is a pity that we must once more comment on a negative issue in our society, but unfortunately, the plague of violent crime remains with us, despite our concerns and efforts to tackle it.

No sooner had Parliament approved a law providing for harsher penalties for the possession of illegal firearms, than there came the news of a horrific double murder involving the gruesome burning of the bodies of the victims. It seems that we are sinking deeper and deeper into depravity. There was also a report of the shooting of a civilian by police, a rather rare occurrence these days, and the discovery of an illegal shipment of guns and ammunition at the Campden Park Container Port. Not very encouraging, one could justly say.

While there has undoubtedly been a steep increase in violent crime in our country, the seeds have been germinating in our society and in those of our neighbours for decades now. We are now experiencing the explosion in the form of murders from alleged gangsterism linked to drug-dealing, alongside more personal incidents arising from vendettas, violence against women and domestic disagreements.

There is no shortage of comments via social media, the airwaves and the press. The glaring shortage is that of solutions. We seem to be absolving ourselves of any responsibility for the sad situation or to face realities. Instead, we hurl accusations and apportion blame on government, politicians, the police, young people, even schools and the church, every institution that we can imagine.

Our politicians, on both sides, are also part of this act, and the last meeting of the House of Assembly again exemplified this. Instead of facing up to the reality that there is no simple solution to the deadly challenge, and hence trying to pool all resources to combat the critical situation, what we get is politicking. First of all, it is doing a grave disservice to our country to lump all the reports of crime together and to give an impression that our country has become so murder-ridden that it is now unsafe.

Clearly the incidents of violent crime are alarming and of grave concern to all. But we must avoid juggling statistics for political purposes and arriving at erroneous conclusions. Scare-mongering does not help, neither the society nor any political party. We have a deep and serious problem which has not arisen overnight, and we need first to make correct analyses and make use of all the human, technical and material resources available to us to solve it. There is no immediate solution and seeking short-term gain will benefit no one in the long run.

Simply put, only an open national dialogue and willingness to take a multi-faceted approach will begin to put us on the path towards being able to correct this malaise in our midst. In this regard, it is heartening to see that the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, is undertaking a series of community outreach sessions where it is sharing information and receiving feedback from the public- A step in the right direction. May this step of community dialogue not be the purview only of the police.