By Caribbean News Global
CANADA / USA / ST LUCIA (CNG Business) – High-level concerns [locally and internationally] about Saint Lucia’s sustained and historic homicide rates and lawlessness, coupled with recent travel advisory, Level 3 on Jamaica citing concerns over crime and unreliable medical service, and Level 2 on The Bahamas, to exercise increased caution due to crime and water safety, occupies conversation in various decision-making quarters.
Saint Lucia has a National Emergency – CRIME
The US State Department travel advisory for Jamaica and The Bahamas are thought-provoking. The advisories mirror events in Saint Lucia, ie – crime, a comatose health care system, airport services, sanitation (the city of Castries), water safety, road safety (potholes) and political squabbles.
The former and current tourism ministers’ recent exchanges were not helpful in their political and national security quiddity, even demanding an apology, among other special effects. The theatrics are certain that safety and security, internal and corresponding external facts are precarious at best.
Occurring in both tourist and non-tourist areas, homicide and violent crime (burglaries, armed robberies, car theft, cutlass attacks, violence against women) are widespread. On Sunday morning, homicide number ten (February 4, 2024) occurred outside the Official Residence of the Governor General, La Toc, Castries.
The escalated crime and violence terrorizing neighbourhoods throughout Saint Lucia summons the need for clarity and action, as the island tourism product and economy are clouded in uncertainty, according to industry leaders.
Amidst all the politics and crime, nothing gets fixed, while industry professionals listened to Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Pierre’s speech, at the launch of Bank of Saint Lucia (BOSL) Global Investment Fund, asserted:
“In 2023 strong growth was achieved in the key economic sectors of tourism, agriculture, and manufacturing. We expect tourism to continue to perform well in 2024.”
Data and evidence suggest that tourism and crime are not an equation for economic development and prosperity. Moreover, Saint Lucia’s theatrics of idiosyncrasy resonate in reports and commenters, as stated: Kaden February 1, 2024 At 3:49 pm “These people are there to divide and destroy Saint Lucia for personal gain they don’t care about us.” Smh February 1, 2024 At 7:52 pm “I agree Fedee should apologize. Right after Hilaire apologizes for Rovergate!”
St Lucia needs to crackdown on economic crimes and record homicides
Saint Lucia on edge
US Ambassador to Barbados and the OECS, Roger Nyhus made his inaugural visit to the region last week. His visit to Saint Lucia, according to Prime Minister Philip Pierre and Minister for National Security, Facebook post reads:
“Saint Lucia and the United States of America continue to enjoy strong diplomatic relations. I welcomed H.E. Roger Nyhus, the US ambassador to the OECS and Barbados during a courtesy call where we affirmed our commitment to working together, particularly on issues of building climate resilience, citizen security and economic development. I look forward to strengthening our relationship for the benefit of our people. #PhilipCares
Saint Lucia continues to enjoy travel advisory Level 1 with the US as of July 17, 2023, meaning: Exercise normal precautions in Saint Lucia. If you decide to travel to Saint Lucia: Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
The Government of Canada advisory on Saint Lucia updated January 29, 2024, says, “Take normal security precautions to those you would take in Canada,” adding: “Violent crime, including gun violence, has increased over the past year, particularly in Vieux Fort. Incidents of murders, sexual assaults, robberies, and gang-related violence have occurred. […] Regular minibus services are reliable but can be unsafe due to driving speeds.” […]
Saint Lucia is on the record with two conservative years of 75 historic homicides (according to unaudited government accounting). The public figures are at odds, much higher, on account of under-reporting of lawlessness, visitor harassment, muggings, robbery, silencing of journalists, bullying on radio and television and currently, additional police and private security for certain members of the cabinet of ministers and parliamentarians.
Venezuelan and Columbian nationals continue to penetrate the porous borders of Saint Lucia
The Royal St Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) last Friday, reported that a house in Dugard, Micoud, was searched resulting in the discovery of one illegal immigrant from Venezuela.
A search was conducted in the south of the island resulting in the discovery of one Jamaican national who had overstayed (Failing to renew his permit before or on the date of expiry) in Saint Lucia. Additionally, two Colombian nationals were identified and arrested for illegal entry and disembarking without the consent of an immigration officer.
Two Saint Lucians were arrested for harbouring an illegal immigrant. The foreign nationals were arrested for illegal entry, and disembarking without the consent of an immigration officer.
The occurrence of Venezuelan and Columbian nationals within proximity of the Bordelais Correctional Facility recalls Sunday, August 8, 2010, when three inmates escaped custody.
That incident remains unresolved while the $49 million Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF) opened in 2003, is over capacity. In December 2023 and January 2024, BCF officers reported having encountered drones on various evenings near the prison.
This also coincides with Vieux-Fort and surrounding areas’ association and illegal trade [underground economy] that fester unabated with thugs, as the symptom suggests – “inclusive of politicians, lawyers, off-duty police officers, and known gang bangers operating as enforces to the idiom: He who pays the piper calls the tune!”
Commenters convey the unprecedented
Tech January 10, 2024, At 8:56 pm “We are so insecure in this country, yet we are entertaining open borders for OCES countries and duplicating our insecurity with CIP. There is nothing wrong with the programs; we are simply not capable of keeping up with those who may be more technologically savvy than us. We also have porous borders, which should be secured first before we add to our insecurity.
IS January 10, 2024, At 9:08 pm “The criminals are more sophisticated than the governing administration, police and judiciary and all combined. This is scary – but “the bureaucracy” – want to gaslight us, as though we are ignorant fools.”
Strong economic base
“Our fiscal situation continues to improve last year 2022 we moved from persistent deficits to a primary surplus which demonstrates the robustness of our economy.
“Our debt-to-GDP ratio increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic but with prudent borrowing, we have halted the rapid plunge that would have led us to unsurmountable or unsustainable debt levels.
“Our financial paper continues to do well on the Regional Securities Market albeit at competitive rates,” Prime Minister Pierre reports, at the launch of Bank of Saint Lucia (BOSL) Global Investment Fund.
St Lucia’s forgiving government: One who gives and takes back more: Part 2
2.5% levy raised approximately $10.5M
In the downward spiral of national security, the RSLPF and the comatose health care system of Saint Lucia, “revenue collection is performing steadily. The Health & Security Levy [2.5%] implemented fully in October 2023 has raised approximately $10.5 million at Customs & Excise and the Inland Revenue Department.”
Prime Minister Pierre continued:
“The government has made large investments in security. The police are receiving unprecedented levels of resources at all levels from vehicles, and drones, to improvements in physical plants, modern crime-fighting technologies, and increases in manpower.
“Yet we are gravely concerned at the number of murders said by the police to be in most cases targeted killings by rival gang members. Government continues to urge the police to take proactive and firm legal measures to stem that dangerous trend.
“Meanwhile, there have been a number of crime prevention and intervention programmes funded by the State. We believe that there is a need for a whole societal approach to violence of all forms. We urge civil society to work with state and non-state actors with a view to reducing violence and improving citizen security.
“There are no benefits to be derived from sensationalizing violence and the government will continue to provide the necessary resources available within our fiscal limits for law enforcement to combat violence of all types.
“Improving the social and educational framework and in particular the training and upskilling of the workforce will continue. It is our hope that better social conditions will limit the propensity to lawlessness, particularly among some of our young people.”
Parity in a mixed economic system
Saint Lucia’s economic performance is within the normal outlook database of a developing country to grow by 3 percent, albetin, Saint Lucia’s national security is well below parity. The security analysis substantiates St Lucia’s commissioner of police should be fired.
Subject to errors and omissions, consider the RSLPF increase in importance, popularity, or esteem – American cruise ship passenger detained for firearm – ~ [Credit: Loop St Lucia News ] February 4, 2024.
“A male US national in his 30s, visiting St Lucia via a cruise ship docked at Port Castries, was detained by police Sunday after a firearm was found in his backpack.
“The American produced an expired license for the firearm.
“The weapon was seized by police and the man was returned to the ship.
“Upon renewing the license, the firearm will be sent back to its owner.”~ [Credit: Loop St Lucia News ] February 4, 2024.
Caribbean News Global (CNG) called two senior RSLPF officers for comment. One officer was astonished, saying: “I don’t know why he wasn’t redirected to custody suits. The other ranking officer simply said: “Real shit!”
Continuing with Prime Minister Pierre’s BOSL speech, subtitle – Tourism Industry, relates:
“Government continues to advocate balanced tourism growth and development. We believe that our country will in the near future continue to be a tourism-dependent country and as such the benefits must accrue to as many people and sectors as possible.”
Economists and related experts differ in reports to Caribbean News Global (CNG) that Saint Lucia’s growth, development path and national development strategy for sustainable growth is “sketchy,” citing “policy, governance, national security and leadership apprehensions.”