The government of St Lucia will be focusing on the police as the country tackles a surge in violent gun-related killings in the south of the island.
Prime Minister, Philip J Pierre has announced what he described as “short term measures” to be put in place by his government to address the situation.
He said the police will get more vehicles, receive emergency powers and better crime-fighting equipment.
“We are further enhancing the facilities for the police in terms of vehicles, in terms of numbers,” Pierre stated. “We are going to parliament with emergency legislation to give the police emergency powers to suppress crime.”
Additionally, he said, efforts will be made to boost morale in the police force.
“Whilst we are doing that, we are trying to see if we can improve the morale of the police, trying to see of we can deal with other issues with technologies, scanners, drones, etc,” he remarked.
Furthermore, he said the Regional Security Services (RSS) is on the ground in an attempt to deal with the issue and his government will be enhancing its social programs in the areas most affected by crime.
Gun violence has surged in the southern town of Vieux Fort with a total of seven people shot and killed within a two-day period last week.
The once bustling town was turned into a ghost town following the shootings but Pierre said that his government has “taken charge of the situation.”
“We will succeed,” he said. “We will build a more safe and secure society.”
The police in St Lucia has announced that nine people were taken into custody to assist in the probe of the recent murders.
They have appealed to people with information to come forward.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, Dominica News Online was informed by a resident that “things have quietened down quite a bit.”
He said schools are open with physical police presence but many parents have opted to keep their children at home.
He also said Vieux Fort is not as busy as it used to be and there is a heavy police presence everywhere.
“It’s almost like a war zone,” the resident said.