Parties outline plans to fight crime
CASTRIES, St. Lucia, CMC – One of three political parties expected to contest general elections here, widely expected in 2011, has described a plan to deal with rising crime outlined by the main opposition St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) as unsatisfactory and short of any substantive or innovation recommendations.
Further, the Lucian Peoples Movement (LPM) said that the SLP executive “does not have the right to indulge in any idealistic approaches to the problem at it is in part responsible for the state of crime in St. Lucia having been in office for a decade before the ruling United Workers Party (UWP) took over”.
The SLP’s plan to deal with rising criminal activities on the island includes a gun amnesty and a national symposium.
The plan was outlined during a radio and television broadcast by the party’s shadow National Security Minister Dr. Robert Lewis who said it would form the basis for a SLP administration strategy should it form the next government following general elections.
Lewis was critical of the Stephenson King administration’s handling of crime, claiming that National Security Minister Guy Mayers and Attorney General Rudolph Francis were both distracted as a result of “begging for votes” for the upcoming elections.
He said that Prime Minister King had himself not done enough to demonstrate his zero tolerance to crime, failing to embark on any initiative to take illegal guns off the streets, and to provide low cost housing in areas where most of the crimes originate.
Lewis said his party’s plan to rid the country of crime would involve the establishment of both a parliamentary commission and the national symposium.
“The Stephenson King government has failed to deliver on its mandate on crime and the people of Saint Lucia are annoyed and disappointed. They have lost all hope in the empty talk and promises of this Government and the Saint Lucia Labour Party is ready to continue its fight against crime,” he said.
“Consequently, early in the New Year, our Party will be convening an internal retreat to review our crime fighting policies to be followed by a national symposium on crime.
“At that national symposium we will invite experts and ordinary citizens alike to come in and share their ideas and experiences with us, on how to address the crime problem in a holistic manner.
“The recommendations of the Symposium, along with the measures that we have announced previously and in this address, will form part of a national consensus on crime going forward,” Lewis noted.
The LPM accused the SLP of rehashing its idea to hold a crime symposium to address the crime problem.
LPM Chairman Franklyn Mc Donald claims that his organisation made a similar proposal on its web site almost a year ago.
“The SLP statement failed to acknowledge this and the fact that both itself and the UWP proved ineffective in curbing the rising incidents of crime, in addition the SLP failed to outline a clear vision for the future,” Mc Donald said.
He promised that in the New Year the LPM which was launched here in August this year, would restate and present in printed form its plan to tackle crime if given a clear mandate.
So far a record 46 homicides have occurred this year up from 43 in 2006 when the SLP demitted office after a 10-7 defeat by the UWP.
One of the campaign promises by the governing party was a reduction in the crime rate which has so far not materialised.
Now the SLP is campaigning for a return to office possibly next year with the party is now promising to bring the crime problem under control. (CMC)