November 5, 2004
Stop-and-search units hit the road

Pedestrians and commuters have to become accustomed to random stop and search by units of the constabulary.

Even though this type of action has been commonplace throughout the nation formerly, the police struck with renewed and invigorated drama last weekend. {{more}} The development came with direct verve following last week Thursday’s announcement in Parliament.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves gave the go ahead, upset, as he was, at the upsurge in criminal activity of recent times.

The Prime Minister, a trained lawyer, former university lecturer and political scientist, declared war on criminals. With the political will endorsed by the Prime Minister, the police were out in full force from as early as last Saturday.

Dr. Gonsalves’ swipe on the criminal upsurge, covered lenient sentences and inconsistency by some magistrates. A meeting with the magistracy was slated following the House of Assembly statement.

If there were any shortage of vehicles or equipment for the police to carry out the stop and search measures, Dr. Gonsalves ensured that these would be supplied.

If Dr. Gonsalves has his way, persons found with illegal weapons would have to serve longer prison terms.

Additionally, if persons are found guilty of murder and have exhausted their appeals, Dr. Gonsalves is promising to have the hangman back in action. Even at the risk of incurring the wrath of the United Kingdom, other countries and international human rights organisations, the Vincentian Prime Minister promised that any capital punishment antagonists would not shake him.

In a caustic reaction to elements of the underworld and perpetrators of crime, Dr. Gonsalves was rabid as he echoed his distaste with the results of the criminal minority.

As a result, the renewed police dragnet has netted some returns as several persons have been arrested for criminal activity in the wake of the crackdown.

However, while most citizens welcomed the stop and search measures, some have voiced concerns about the manner in which some officers have carried out the crime reduction exercise with charges being made of overzealousness on the part of the lawmen.