Our Readers' Opinions
May 24, 2016
Surge in policing needed to put a stop to this violence!

by Time for Action

I do believe that the first principle of sovereign governance is the protection of the people and in a situation where criminals are seriously eroding the security of the people, the state ought to move immediately, forcefully, and massively to neutralize that threat.{{more}}

There is no reason why 100,000 people should be held in fear by probably 300-400 young men. They do not possess the resources to confront the legal machinery of force that is available to a sovereign state, if we choose to mobilize those resources. And they do not possess the intellectual capacity to even act as a collective entity in pursuit of a common goal – a capacity the state possesses in abundance. These are simply individuals seeking their best interests and injuring the interests of everyone else.

It is time that we decide that the first order of governance in this moment is to put a stop to this violence in the most forceful manner possible. More police – or more precisely more policing – is the one initiative that would have the most immediate impact. We can think of it this way: criminals do not commit crimes in the presence of police. We, therefore, need to increase the presence of police viritually everywhere in St Vincent and the Grenadines, but particularly in the places and times where crimes most often occur.

How do we do that?

I would recommend that we add 1,000 more police to the existing force for a three-year period. I would then have a 24-hour police presence in about 50 different locations, with the police patrolling these areas in units of 5-10 men. We need the criminals and potential criminals to be faced with overwhelming police power. With as many as 500 men keeping us safe in the night, crime would collapse.

I would also recommend that our police do the kind of stop and frisk made famous in New York between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. in high crime areas. I would target men between the ages of 16-35 years suspected of being armed.

I would recommend new laws to deal with guns – five years imprisonment for illegal possession of a firearm; 10 years imprisonment for firing an illegal firearm; 15 years for injuring someone with with an illegal firearm; and 30 years to life for killing anyone with an illegal firearm.

I would recommend setting up gun courts to deal with very quickly with illegal possession of firearms. I would offer a one-month amnesty or buy-back programme for illegal firearms to be handed in to the police.

I would appropriate at least $20 million dollars from all existing programmes or borrow the money to put in place this surge in policing. And I would defend this on a very simple principle: the first responsibility of government is the protection of our people. All other rights are contingent on the right to live. When criminals jeopardize or take away our right to live, they take everything from us.

There is simply no way we should allow a very few misguided young men between the ages of 16 and 35 years to strip the vast majority of Vincentians of the right to enjoy our lives. St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is a sovereign country with sovereign powers. I would deploy every element of state power to make SVG the safest country in the Caribbean. And I would begin this with a surge in policing.