Persons who have been incarcerated for murder continue to make up the largest slice of the population at His Majesty’s Prisons. There are a total of 100 persons in that institution who have been incarcerated on charges for murder, are awaiting trial for murder, or are awaiting sentencing in relation to a charge of murder. Ninety seven of these persons are male,59 of whom have already been sentenced; 30 are awaiting trial; and eight have been found guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Three females also are in this group; two were sentenced and one is awaiting trial.
As of July 31, 2023, the prison population of St Vincent and the Grenadines stood at 392 of which 381 are males, and 11 are females.
The increasing number of persons being charged for murder was noted with concern at the closing of the Criminal Assizes at High Court #1 this week when acting Superintendent of Prisons, Dwayne Bailey, presented the prison report.
Possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition ranked number two among the most committed offenses among the male prison population, with 32 males being sentenced to prison by the Magistrate’s Courts.
Manslaughter is also a top 10 offense among male prisoners with a total of 13 males being sentenced to prison for this offense.
Along with murder, manslaughter is the most committed offense among the female prison population; two persons are serving time having been sentenced and one person is awaiting trial.
Other charges such as burglary, robbery, wounding, unlawful sexual intercourse, rape, possession of unlicensed firearms and aggravated burglary are among the most committed offences among male offenders; and for females, wounding, possession of controlled drugs, and theft dominate.
The prison statistics also show that South Leeward had the highest number of offenders so far for 2023 with 65 of the country’s male offenders, and one female offender originating from that area. Inmates hailing from South Windward are also a dominant group in the prison population with 31 males coming from that area, and Central Kingstown trailed closely behind with 31 offenders.
The Southern Grenadines and East St George had the lowest number of offenders with just two persons from those areas being charged for a committing a criminal offense, while Central Kingstown, South Leeward, West St George, the Northern Grenadines, North Windward, and East Kingstown each having one person being convicted for an offense.
Lawyer Ronald Marks, said that he is very concerned with the number of murders that have taken place recently and so is the rest of the nation.
“Although they’re confined to mainly gang activities, it’s those who are walking on the streets who are worried most. When we see the indiscriminate shooting in public places, it causes concern, and we have to work together, private, Bar, DPP, Court and the citizens to take back our country and to make sure that justice is done, and for those who are guilty of murder that they would be investigated.”
He said it is also the responsibility of the justice system for proper investigations to be carried out, and that facilities are provided for the police to ensure that those investigations take place.
“I see a lot of cameras around the town, that’s an improvement, we’re hoping for more so that we can be more secure.”