Barrouallie residents ask questions about police station
The old Barrouallie Police Station in Bamboo Square.
Front Page
May 17, 2024

Barrouallie residents ask questions about police station

by Jada Chambers

In the wake of an armed robbery that occurred at the Barrouallie Branch of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Co-operative Credit Union (SVGTCCU), residents are asking who exactly are the police officers serving and protecting when the police station is located to the “extreme end” of the town.

“What is the purpose of the police? To serve and protect, correct?” owner of Barrouallie’s Seasurf Restaurant, Coretta Kirby questioned in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT yesterday May 16, 2024.

The Barrouallie Police Station in Peter’s Hope.

“If the purpose of the police is to serve and protect, and everybody [in Peter’s Hope] is at work, then who are they serving and protecting, the gru-gru trees?”, she repeated.

“The only persons who would be at home in Peter’s Hope are retired persons, or old persons or grandmothers or grandfathers who babysitting for the persons who have gone to work, which is a rare issue, because young persons prefer to take their kids to the daycare and free up their parents. So who are the police serving and protecting then? The gru-gru trees?”

The Barrouallie Police Station was located in Bamboo Square, Barrouallie, a stone’s throw away from where the recent daylight robbery took place. However, on February 23, 2021, the police station was relocated to Peter’s Hope, Barrouallie, in the vicinity of the village’s bus stop to allow for renovation.

“Where the police station was, it was central, so you know that you come in the middle. Now, you go to the extreme end of Barrouallie to get the police to help you. The main reason why the robbery took place is because there is no police,” Kirby claimed.

The Teachers’ Co-operative Credit Union where an armed robbery took place on Friday, May 10.

Another resident who told SEARCHLIGHT that he was in the SVGTCCU branch office on Friday May 10, 2024, when two masked gunmen entered the doors of the credit union and stole cash from the drawers recounted the experience.

“While I was dealing with the tellers, I heard like a door open and a guy like he crank a gun. I was still at the desk standing, so the guy pull the gun and say, ‘Go down on the ground, go down on the ground, go down on the ground.’ I stand a while because it was a little shock to me, and then the guy pull the gun a second time and say, ‘go down on the ground,’ Instead I go down on the ground, I stay on the chair, and then he say, ‘go down on the ground,’ and he push the gun to me….and I eventually just come off the chair and just slide down and lay down on the ground.”

The man said that he is still in a state of shock as it was his first time experiencing an incident like that, and it was even his first time hearing someone ‘pull a gun’.

“After they go, we stay inside the building about more…I’m not lying…about an hour and more than 20 minutes,” and there was no assistance coming from the police even to ask “what go on.”

Continuing, he said that workers from the SVGTCCU branch in Kingstown travelled to the branch in Barrouallie, arriving there before the police. Also, that after no police arrived at the scene, he left, and later learnt that the police arrived two hours after the robbery took place, even though the Barrouallie Police Station was contacted immediately.

“The police station said they had no transport. So you’re telling me, no police had no car?,” he questioned. “…this is emergency. You could always go into the road, put out your hands [and] stop any vehicle.”

In the vicinity where the police station stood, there are restaurants, one gas station, a branch of the Bank of St Vincent and the Grenadines, a post office, a playing field, a playground, several shops, other businesses and facilities, churches and schools. However, the area is more widely known for hosting one of Barrouallie’s most adored events, Bagga Fish Fest.

President of the Fish Fest Committee, Zenna Lewis told SEARCHLIGHT that Barrouallie needs greater police presence.

“Because the police is so far away, we have to pay the police a fee so they can go and come from Peter’s Hope to Barrouallie. Although they’re supposed to be on duty, we have to pay them privately out of our pockets to provide security for us…at Fish Fest.”

Lewis added that because of where the police station is located, it is of no benefit to Barrouallie residents. Deputy Commissioner of Police, Frankie Joseph, told SEARCHLIGHT on Thursday, May 16, 2024, that senior officers have been to Barrouallie on several occasions to try and find a location for the police station but have not been able to identify a suitable location to date.

During the sitting of Parliament on May 9, 2024, Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves said that the government has borrowed $135 million from the Saudi Fund for Development(SFD), and will use EC$17.6 million of that money to repair police stations across the state. SEARCHLIGHT was unable to confirm whether the Barrouallie Police Station is included in that budget. Calls to the Minister were unsuccessful.