The ease at which lives are destroyed by guns highlights the need for a new approach. The Unity Labour Party (ULP) government has failed miserably to combat crime. For the year, so far fifteen (15) homicides have been reported.
The following is a statement that was issued by the NDP on the recent shooting in the country: “Over the last three weeks, Vincentians have become increasingly alarmed at the rate of violent crimes in the country, most of which are gun related.
On Tuesday 11th April 2023, Jomo ‘Top Dog’ Brudy died after being shot in Pole Yard on the previous day. Brudy’s death brought the homicide count in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) to 11 for the year. On Friday night 14th April 2023, Queen’s Drive businessman, Michael Richards died in a hail of bullets raising the homicide count to 12. On Tuesday 25th April, 2023, Dave Sutton died after being shot in Georgetown. And, on Sunday 30th April 2023, a resident of Long Wall, Kingstown, Joe-Mani Charles, was shot dead late Sunday night raising the homicide count to 15.
Crime is simply out of control. The government has no plan to deal with it. The Prime Minister and Minister for National Security Dr. Ralph Gonsalves spends his time at international conferences blaming others for crime but never accepting responsibility to address the spiraling crime rate.
In February, the Prime Minister and the Police Commissioner, Colin John, held a press conference and said that they would seek to stop a repeat of 2022, when we had the worst homicide rate in recent memory. Two months on, there does not appear to be a plan or any energy or activity from the government to address this most serious issue. When will we see real and meaningful action from the government?
The New Democratic Party (NDP) extends sincere condolences to the families directly affected by violent crimes in SVG. We understand your pain.
Crime in SVG is a crisis that affects everyone and will require a national collaboration to address it. The NDP is again renewing our call for the ULP administration to work with us and other social partners in the development and implementation of strategies to address the crime epidemic.
President of the NDP and Leader of the Opposition, the Honorable Dr Godwin Friday, has made it clear that he is ready to work in the nation’s best interest. He has also set out what the NDP would do to address this and has said it is his top priority. While others seek to blame, he is committed to doing all the NDP can to address this epidemic of violent crime. Anyone with information that might assist the police investigations should contact the police immediately.”
The New Democratic Party (NDP) strongly believes to effectively combat crime the emphasis should be placed on identifying the likely causes of crime and developing a strategy to remove them. We will:
Implement the Spiritual and Social Redemption Charter as an important program in crime prevention
Commission a review of existing research into the causes of crime followed by research into the causes of crime in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to determine which of these causes are applicable here. This will inform the strategies we introduce to combatting crime.
Establish an effective probation service that will monitor and counsel ex-convicts to aid their rehabilitation and reduce the risk of further crimes.
Vigorously pursue community policing by increasing the visibility of police on the beat, involving police in trust-building activities in communities, and by providing specific training in community policing.
Institute measures that will encourage regular meetings with the police and certain communities about the resolution and reduction of criminal conduct in those communities.
A safe St. Vincent and the Grenadines will be a more prosperous country and help provide a better standard of living for all.
Providing opportunities for Vincentians
We will address skills shortage to meet the needs of the economy and improve wages. We will deliver technical and skills training courses in priority areas. This will help to ensure that our people can up-skill themselves to take advantage of our program to create new jobs.
We will also focus on supporting the training of workers in areas where there are skills shortages to meet the needs of the economy and improve wages. We will make it easier for businesses to afford to take on juniors, trainees and apprentices. This means that young persons can have decent paying jobs, where they can gain valuable paid experiences. These incentives will be afforded for the full length of their training, allowing them to earn and learn at the same time.
Also, we will create a new Business Park that will be an incubator for tech start-ups. The NDP will create a business park. This will offer high quality offices, parks, eateries and recreational facilities. The Business Park will serve as an incubator for new Vincentian businesses such as Tech Star-Ups. It will provide the opportunity for young people to innovate and start up new types of business ventures with support, including subsided high-speed internet, office space and legal services.
The Business Park will include an Enterprise Zone, a specific geographic area in the Business Park with special tax holidays and other incentives for start-ups that employ at least five local persons. We will also develop international zones where overseas businesses are incentivized to start joint ventures with local businesses with similar tax incentives.
The ULP has not delivered on its promises to create the opportunities for Vincentians. Unemployment has increased significantly. Poverty is on the rise and crime is out of control. The NDP offers hope. We will ensure that our people have the opportunities to succeed in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.