Police meet with South Rivers residents
Members of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force during their community engagement in South Rivers in the Eastern Policing Division
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April 23, 2024

Police meet with South Rivers residents

The Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF), said they conducted a successful community engagement in South Rivers in the Eastern Policing Division, on April 18, 2024.

The police said in a release the initiative involved a community walk-through followed by a town hall meeting attended by the acting Commissioner of Police, the deputy Commissioner, other gazetted officers from the police high command and several senior and junior officers.

This community policing initiative aimed to give residents of South Rivers a platform to voice their grievances, express compliments, and offer constructive criticism. The event was a direct response to recent concerns about safety in the area, and it allowed the police to listen to the community concerns.

Superintendent of Police (SOP) Hesran Ballantyne, Divisional Commander of the Eastern Division, addressing participants at the meeting emphasized the historically peaceful reputation of South Rivers. He highlighted the uncharacteristic nature of the recent violent incidents and stressed the importance of community cooperation in crime reporting with the mantra ‘If you see something, say something’.

SOP Ballantyne also tackled the issue of praedial larceny, urging community members to discourage such offences and support local farmers by purchasing rather than stealing produce.

He referenced various government initiatives available to support agricultural stakeholders, and touched as well on the ongoing investigation into the murder of Clinton Hackshaw, reassuring the community of the commitment of the police to bring the perpetrators to justice.

In his remarks, assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in charge of crime, Trevor Bailey emphasized the crucial role of partnership between the community and law enforcement in effectively addressing crime. He also commended the efforts of SOP Ballantyne and his team for their exemplary crime-solving record in the Eastern Division. In 2023, they achieved a remarkable milestone by solving 100% of the homicides committed in the district. ACP Bailey used this achievement to appeal to the community’s sense of peace and heritage, reminding them of the temporary gains from crime as against the lasting negative impacts.

He further emphasized the importance of community involvement in maintaining public safety and reassured the audience that solving crimes, especially murders, is a top priority and that the impressive results in 2023 are indicative of the dedicated efforts of the police force. ACP Bailey called for an end to the stigmatization of individuals who cooperate with police investigations as “Informers,” asserting that being informed and informing the police about illegal activities should be viewed as an act of responsible citizenship.

The ACP also discussed the broader impact of crime on community cohesion and economic stability. He encouraged the community to support and participate in initiatives like the National Firearm Amnesty programme, which he detailed as not only a measure to reduce the number of weapons but also as a way to foster a safer environment for everyone.

Acting Commissioner of Police, Enville Williams, in his address to the residents, reinforced the RSVGPF’s commitment to working shoulder to shoulder with the South Rivers community. He recounted his experiences in the 1990s, while working at the Colonaire police station when community members could walk freely without fear. Williams stressed the importance of maintaining this peaceful way of life and encouraged residents to report any individuals threatening their safety.

The acting Commissioner also strongly advised against the crime of praedial larcency, emphasizing that everyone has the right to enjoy the fruits of their labour. He responded as well to concerns about the slow police response to community reports, asserting that any negligence in duty from officers would not be tolerated under his watch.

In addition, acting Commissioner Williams provided an update on the national firearm amnesty, reporting that 13 firearms and 219 rounds of ammunition had been collected thus far.