The opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) said Vincentians are disturbed by the continuous whittling away of their constitutional and democratic freedoms by the Unity Labour Party (ULP) administration through the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF).
The most recent incidence of this came on Thursday, 23 February 2023, when police officers summarily arrested several citizens staging a peaceful protest outside Parliament in Kingstown, the party said in a release.
It said that “Luzette King, Adriana King, John Mofford and Robert “Patches” Knights were arrested by police officers and taken to the Kingstown Police Station where they were kept overnight and charged that they failed to disperse, when instructed by a police officer, from ‘an unlawfully held public meeting which was held within 200 yards of the Court House building when the House of Assembly was sitting’, contrary to Section 10(3)(a) of the Public Order Act.”
The party said that “the continued weaponization of the police by the ULP government against its political opponents is an attack on democracy and a grievous misuse of the police force.”
“SVG continues to experience record breaking statistics on homicides and other crimes, which the Minister of National Security, Ralph Gonsalves and the Police Commissioner, Colin John seem incapable of addressing. “After a record high of 42 homicides for 2022 and already a homicide count of 9 for 2023, including two policing shootings, the Vincentian public could see no substantial strategy initiatives to address the problem, except the normal rhetoric of the Prime Minister,” the release continued.
“The NDP is calling for the ULP to stop the politicizing of the police force and allow our police officers to do their jobs of addressing the issue of crime that is negatively affecting Vincentian society and making people unsafe and afraid.”