After we have called for the resignation of the Commissioner of Police, he has accepted our request and has taken early retirement. A new commissioner will be soon be appointed. But, it will be a great challenge for him to combat crime in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Speaking on his weekly radio program, President of the New Democratic Party and Leader of the Opposition, Honourable Dr. Godwin Friday, made the following comments: “The new commissioner has to send a signal that there is a serious attempt to reverse the slide that has taken place in public confidence of the police. This requires somebody whose focus will be on crime fighting, whose focus will be community policing and getting the police involved with the citizens. Someone who will instill within the rank and file of the Police Service the motto of serving and protecting the public as their purpose for being. This will go a long way to instill in the public the confidence that things may turn around.
The bigger signal will be to have the commissioner not only go, but also the Minister of National Security, who happens to be the Prime Minister to be replaced as well. So, we can turn a new leave and have people who are tasked specifically to deal with the rising crime and deteriorating public confidence in the Police Service. That is what I believe is needed.
One of things that I think has to happen to get public confidence and the general public to feel safe in their communities, and to feel that the police are doing their job comes from the likelihood of apprehension of persons who commit offences and prosecution. So, that they can see when people go outside of the law that they are punished and they are apprehended and are brought before the criminal justice system. That is something that will help to inspire public confidence.
It also requires communication. I hope that whosoever the new commissioner is, it is a person who takes as a priority the proper communication between the Police Service and the public. The police is not separate from the society. It is not lord and above us, policing us. It is there to protect and serve. And to do so, the Police Service has to communicate with the people. Bring the public on board. We are not saying that you reveal all of the ins and outs of the investigation. That is something that you will have a judgement on. You see it all over the world where you have high profile criminal offences. The police will keep the public abreast. They will say this is where we are with the investigation. So, people know that we haven’t moved on. We haven’t solved this matter, so let’s move on to the next three or four homicides that recently occurred.
That has to be communicated to the people that all these violent offences, homicides that have been committed that they are doing their investigation, where they are that they are pursuing them vigorously. Notwithstanding the fact, that they have not arrested or prosecuted anyone but they are continuing their work. That essential active communication has to come from the very head, from the commissioner not from a political office but from somebody who is charged with the sacred responsibility of serving and protecting the public.
I hope that whoever the new commissioner is, that is also taken on board by those who are doing the appointment. It must be somebody who is capable of communicating with the public and is willing to do so in order to instill that trust between the police and the general public and to rebuild the confidence of the people. That our police service, our criminal justice system is functioning effectively and that it will bring this scourge of violent crime under control. That is what we in the New Democratic Party and for myself as a citizen of this country wish to see coming from the appointment of a new commissioner of police.”
The ULP Government has failed young people
The ULP Government has failed young people. It is time for a national campaign to enable young people to make a good life for themselves in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The New Democratic Party (NDP) believes that a large number of young people leave our shores because of the harsh economic conditions in the country. Youth unemployment remains one of the highest in the region. Four (4) out of ten (10) young people are unemployed. St Vincent and the Grenadines’ poverty rate is higher than the average (23%) for the Eastern Caribbean. More than 1 in 3 children and 37% of youth live in poverty in SVG.
Commenting on the situation, President of the NDP, and Leader of the Opposition Honourable Dr Godwin Friday, said, “The ULP government has failed our young people. After 22 years in government, they offer no hope and no plan for the future. By every metric, the government is failing our young people. Youth unemployment is alarmingly high. Our migration rate is among the highest in the Eastern Caribbean and poverty remains a fact of life for too many young people.
I want to create a future where everyone who chooses to live in St. Vincent and the Grenadines has the opportunity to do so and have a quality life. The NDP will increase training in key sectors, invest in new businesses, cut student interest rates to make it easier to go to college and ensure that every young person has an opportunity to develop their skills and prospects here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
Dr Friday added, “My colleagues and I will be talking with young persons throughout the country to hear first-hand the issues they are facing and how we can work together to address them.”