Speaking live from the studio of Hot 97.1 SVG on Thursday morning, Opposition Leader Dr. Godwin Friday said he passes the area where five persons were shot on Wednesday as he travels to the Grenadine island of Bequia and he, in fact, passed there after 6pm before the after 7pm rampage.
He echoed his condolences and described the incident as shocking as he expressed concern that the nation was getting too comfortable and used to persons being shot and killed.
Five persons gunned down in a single incident with what can be perceived as “submachine guns” was “simply unacceptable,” Dr. Friday stressed.
He described the violent acts as “unprecedented” and criticised the government for having what he believed was a “tepid response” as though it were just “a passing thing.”
Dr. Friday said the state was getting worse every day and the warnings and calls for action were not being heeded.
He lashed out that the Prime Minister who is also Minister of National Security seemed to be “fitting it into his busy schedule” while people were retreating into their homes and were afraid to go to public places.
He lamented that it was not just the fact that people were being killed, but “the way it was being done as the crimes seem to happen anywhere.”
It is getting to a point, Dr. Friday assessed, when the people of the country have lost faith in the institutions that should protect them.
The principal objective of government was the security of people in the nation, he said, and if this doesn’t occur, “there can’t be investment, enjoyment, peace of mind and things associated with a civilized society.”
With 35 homicides as of 20 July 2023, the Opposition Leader declared, “The government has failed,” and questioned if PM Gonsalves has been in the country for more than a month in a row and said that the PM is away and the Deputy PM Montgomery Daniel is acting, the country is on auto pilot.
This was a crisis that should not be trivialized as just a fascination with guns or vanity, Dr. Friday warned.
The time was perhaps appropriate when it was necessary to make National Security a separate ministry for someone who has been tasked directly to deal with the security situation in the country.
He charged that “the Commissioner of Police has proven himself to be incapable of dealing with the situation” and there needs to be regional cooperation on dealing with the problem.
The offer of his party to collaborate with the government to tackle crime remains on the table, Dr. Friday reminded and advanced the position that “The crime situation was a terrible scourge that needed a national, non-partisan and unified approach, where it wasn’t about scoring political points.”
Source : The Vincentian