Fri 3rd Jul 2009

Policy changes needed in police operations

History has shown that all people who operate outside of the law, are losers in the long term.

Prior to 2001, SVG has had very serious crimes committed with negligible need for the police to kill criminals on apprehension. However, since 2001, and the coming to office of the ULP regime and the inception of the Rapid Response Unit, the status quo has changed drastically. Now we are witnessing an alarming high rate of police killings of suspected criminals. The crime rate keeps on climbing: therefore this method is counterproductive in crime fighting.

On 21st May 2009, three young black men were alleged to have been gunned down by the police in the Vermont area. There have also been two other police killings since the 21st May 2009, with similar reasons given for police justification, i.e. the alleged criminals had a cutlass or a gun.

The statement made subsequent to the police killing of the three young black men in the Vermont valley by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves was quote: 'Do you want the police to use water guns?' IS THIS STATEMENT INCITING POLICE KILLINGS IN SVG? There have been two other police killings since May 21st and the writing of this document.

Nationals of St. Vincent and the Grenadines do not have a history of violence and of killing police officers as has happened in other Caribbean countries. SVG Green Party wants to see pro-active policies put into place to prevent the criminal backlash which can destabilise and harm the economy and wellbeing of our country.

We are strongly recommending the following changes in the police operations:

(1) Disband the Rapid Response Unit, code named Black Squad, and employ them on foot patrol, as there is a significant need for foot patrol throughout the country.

(2) Expand the operation of the SSU to cover criminal apprehension.

(3) A distinct policy be made and enforced where criminals must be brought in alive.

(4) Utilise job creation to fight crime and poverty by building a stronger and sustainable economy.

(5) Less emphasis be placed on the Regional Security System. It is giving the wrong impression to the region and the world that SVG is a country of inherent crime. Is this used as a pretext to oppress Vincentians?

(6) Introduce a K-9 unit.

(7) Employ the use of tasers in criminal apprehension.

(8) The above policies would enhance police public relations significantly by helping them to regain their rightful place and respect in society.

We feel the above recommendations are a positive way of dealing with the present crime and criminality and of promoting peace and stability, and enhancing the economic growth of our country.

A Green government will introduce policies that will make our country safer. People have a right not to live in fear of crime and under a Green government this country will be safer. Since the ULP regime came to office, we have seen a big increase in violent crime. We call on all people who want a safer country to vote Green at the next general election. We cannot afford to carry on with this incompetent ULP government.

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