National Security Minister Victor Phillip La Corbiniere says the government is moving to tackle those who orchestrate mayhem on the nation’s streets.
In the wake of the latest spate of violent crime, he contends the chaos is not just gang related as authorities evaluate all the facets of crime.
La Corbiniere suggests the triggermen roaming the streets are mere underlings who answer to people with clout in the seedy criminal underworld.
There has been a rash of deadly shootings recently prompting public outcry for law enforcement to diffuse a potential resurgence in violent crime.
However, while the Security Minister supports improvements in tactical operations he argues suppression is not the answer to gang violence and the drug trade.
La Corbiniere has warned the country has to be prepared to support the government in the fight against the illicit drugs trade
He has also promised in the next few years tough decisions will be taken to deal with the criminal masterminds.
The National Security Minister says while the media and other quarters speculate the sporadic gunplay is simply gang warfare, law enforcement must critically analyze the situation.
He explains the investigative processes involve extensive intelligence gathering and an examination of the scope of criminality even beyond the island’s shores.
Wife charged for murder Story byCarmy Joseph
Dornailie Lesmond has been charged with killing her husband SPC Lucan Lesmond. A post mortem revealed the special police constable who was shot in his home on September 2nd died as a result of brain damage secondary to a gun shot wound.
News4orce was the only media house present on Sunday morning as the accused was led from the home where the crime occurred by assistant commissioner of police responsible for crime and intelligence Frances Henry.
At the time visibly distraught family members had to be restrained by officers including the police commissioner as the then suspect was led away. Lesmond was charged on Wednesday.
Media person being questioned Story byCarmy Joseph
A member of the media fraternity is currently in police custody, detained in connection with the investigation of the shooting death of Miguel Augustin also known as “reds.”
The 24 year old died after he was shot multiple times early Monday morning near the Ciceron bus stop in Castries.
Sources say police took the media person down for questioning on Wednesday afternoon; they were detained at their place of employment.
The media worker is said to have provided a false alibi to a person of interest in the police investigation.
That person is also said to be in police custody.
To date no one has been charged in connection with this homicide, the 26th so far for the year.
We understand police are still determining if the media person should be charged for whatever part they may have played in this matter. Stay tuned to Newsforce for further developments in this case.
Saint Lucians charged for drugs Story byCarmy Joseph
SKNvibes is reporting two St. Lucians, who were caught last Saturday September 1st in St. Kitts and Nevis territorial waters aboard a yacht carrying a large quantity of cocaine, were on Monday September 3rd charged with three drugs-related offences.
The website says according to a release from the police public relations office, 56-year-old Vincent Clerice and 42 year old Nixon Alexander both of Marigot
were formally charged for possession of cocaine, possession of cocaine with intent to supply to another and importation of cocaine into the federation. At about noon on Saturday September 1st, during a joint maritime anti-narcotics operation between the St. Kitts and Nevis defense force coast guard and the Dutch navy frigate hr. Ms. Tromp (f-803), a white 15.36-metre united kingdom-registered yacht bearing the name Sinestra prove was sailing in the old road area.
Members aboard the Dutch vessel had observed the crew jettisoning some bags into the Caribbean Sea; they later recovered six bags from the water.
Each bag upon examination contained 20 three-inch thick 12-inch long packages of a white substance, which was tested and proved to be cocaine amounting to 120 kilos.
Documents aboard the yacht indicated that Clerice was both captain and owner while Alexander was the lone crew member.
Both men and the illegal drugs were handed over to the police after the yacht was escorted to the coast guard base at bird rock.
Welfare condemns officers Story bySant Justin
In recent months - Police have been charged with a number of criminal offences including possession of illegal drugs, sexual assault and in one instance kidnapping.
President of the Police Welfare Association- Martin James says it is disappointing when these situations involving law enforcement emerge.
James says professionalism is a topic preached religiously to members.
He has also condemned any and all criminal activities by Police.
One police officer was charged with kidnapping after he was caught with a young boy in Canaries.
Weeks later another was charged after he was caught with controlled drugs.
Still another was charged weeks later with sexual assault of a female. James says while his association represents members where necessary; this only applies in legitimate situations.
James says the job of a Police Officer is a stressful one. That coupled with human weaknesses can sometimes lead the men in uniform to falter.
Nevertheless, he continues to encourage professionalism and law abiding behaviour amongst the hard working members of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force.
Christal laid to rest Story byWinston Springer
Slain teenager Christal St. Omer was laid to rest following a funeral service at Gros Islet Wednesday afternoon.
Thousands including prominent citizens, government officials and dignitaries paid their last respects during an emotionally stirring ceremony at the St. Joseph the Worker Roman Catholic Church.
Family and closed friends immortalized Christal’s image with t-shirts bearing the likeness of the homicide victim.
There was an abundance of flowers and specially made wreaths symbolizing the outpouring of a nation rocked by the awful loss of life.
The 17 year old who was reported missing on Wednesday August 22nd was found dead beneath a 12ft retaining wall at Cap Estate a few days later.
Her brutal murder evoked public outcry and stirred passionate calls for swift justice. Several vigils were held in the wake of the tragedy in remembrance of the vibrant teenager described as model student.
19 year old Mario Charles, a resident of Cas en Bas was later charged with causing the death of the graduate of the Castries Comprehensive School.
The accused made his first court appearance last Friday to a chorus of jeers and insults from an angry crowd gathered at the court house.
He has been remanded in custody at the Bordelais correctional facility until a sufficiency hearing on September 19th 2012.
Plans for health sector Story bySant Justin
Plans to provide a reformed, quality and affordable health sector to the St. Lucian public is on the way.
The Ministry of Health announced the completion date for the National Hospital described as one part of that broad based initiative on Tuesday.
Health Minister- Alvina Reynolds spoke of various other strategies which includes expanding and strengthening community based health services.
Chief Medical Officer- Dr. Merlin Frederick elaborated, focusing on various aspects of Primary health care that will be strengthened.
Dr Frederick says some of these changes will also seek to decrease strain on Emergency Rooms.
The Health Minister says increasing the staff compliment is also a priority, along with introducing the second phase of Universal Health Care which will include free medication for hypertensive patients.
The pronouncements were made during a press briefing with officials from the Ministry of Health.
The new completion date for the new National Hospital is December 31st – it is expected to open in the New Year.
PS on Stimulus Story byWinston Springer
After some delays a key aspect of the construction stimulus package is now in effect. Expansion of that sector is one of the broad policy measures announced by the government to spur economic growth.
Although an elaborate ceremony was held weeks ago to declare the formal commencement of the incentive program, technocrats were still tweaking the finer details of the package.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce says the Customs and Excise Department has concluded a quick audit of the suppliers of the selected items exempted from duties and taxes.
This will pave the way for lower prices for consumers.
Titus Preville reveals despite the sputtering start the benefits of the stimulus program will accrue to members of the public.
He indicates a trip to the hardware store will be different for potential home builders and contractors.
The construction stimulus package entails the removal of all duties and taxes on selected building material and items and a reduction of the price of certain services.
According to the 2012-2013 Fiscal Budget for an eighteen month period, stamp duty will be removed and the legal fraternity and banking sector will lower related costs.
The government has proposed an interest rate of five percent for five years for new construction projects undertaken by individuals and businesses.
The state will provide service lots through the NHC and SLDB.
Rock political legacy Story byCarmy Joseph
Former Minister of Home Affairs Lorraine Williams on Wednesday paid tribute to the first woman to hold political office in Saint Lucia, Heraldine Rock.
The pioneer died at hospital early Friday morning August 31st. Williams called the woman who broke the political glass ceiling in Saint Lucia a “national treasure” – an individual who “whether as an educator, a minister of government or as a private citizen, throughout her life” rendered “unstinting public service.”
Winning the Castries South East seat in 1974, Williams also called Ma Rock as she was affectionately called an advocate of women’s rights who established a government desk concerned strictly with women’s affairs; the genesis of the Ministry Williams would later head.
Her neighbour and one time political ally – Stephenson Annuis – also credited her for the decision to enter politics.
Her brother Rupert Gajadhar, another former politician – was also complimentary of Ma Rock’s political and social service to the country.
Visibly emotional about his sister’s death – he says she has a special place in the political history of the country.
The Heraldine Rock building on the Castries Waterfront is named after the former Minister with responsibilities for Housing, Community Development, Local Government and Social Affairs, Groups Needs, Cooperatives, the Provident Fund and Water, from 1974 to 1980.
Funeral arrangements of the late Heraldine Rock are being handled by the government of Saint Lucia.
Salvation army donation Story byAndrew Mondesir
The Salvation Army has had a presence in St. Lucia for over a century. The organisation got a pleasant surprise when First National Bank announced recently it would sign a three-year, $30,000 covenant with the organization.
Chairman of the Salvation Army’s Advisory Board, Malcolm Burns expressed heartfelt gratitude to bank representatives for the decision to increase its contribution towards the charitable organisation.
The donation was especially welcomed at a time when raising funds is getting increasingly difficult.
Major Pricilla Kellman also thanked 1st National Bank for its generosity and recognising the organisation’s need for further assistance in continuing its outreach to the less fortunate in society.
The Salvation Army was established in St. Lucia in 1902, 37 years after it was first introduced to the world.
Bartenders prizegiving Story bySant Justin
The annual Chairman’s Reserve Bartender’s competition was held this past weekend at the Fire Grill in Rodney Bay.
Twenty bartenders vied for the title as they mixed and matched various ingredients with the main attraction, Chairman’s Reserve.
Sales and Marketing Director of St. Lucia Distillers- Michael Speakman dubbed the weekend’s activity a success.
He says the competition is meant to preserve and grow the skills of St. Lucian bartenders while also promoting the brand.
Joshua Regis of the popular Delirious LTD walked away with the prestigious title, followed by Cyril Denis of Cap Maison Resort in second and Carol Morille of Sandals Grand in Third.
The bartenders spoke about their preparation leading up to the competition. Morille also encouraged young bartenders and those interested in the field to be consistent.
The prize giving ceremony was held on Wednesday at the St. Lucia Distillers Brewery located in Roseau.
La Corbiniere on crime
Wife charged for murder
Welfare condemns officers
Christal laid to rest
Plans for health sector
PS on Stimulus
Rock political legacy
Salvation army donation
National Security Minister Victor La Corbiniere believes the war on drugs and gangs will never end until Police begin taking out the people who actually run these operations. He argues that while the people who get killed or commit crimes in this regard may live in so called hot spots and be seen actively participating in this lifestyle – they are actually operating on orders. For him –the war on drugs needs to move beyond areas like Grass Street and Wilton’s Yard and towards other area codes; places where drug and gang operations are managed by people behind gated communities. What validates his argument – the drug and money loads that for years have been found in communities like Cap Estate and Rodney Bay in comparison to the 5 bags often confiscated by Police on raids in the inner city.
Do you agree with the National Security Minister that the crime fight needs broadening to include the people behind the scenes?