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Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre told reporters on Monday that the police have all the legal powers to combat crime.
Pierre, responsible for National Security, spoke amid a sharp spike in deadly violence, claiming ten lives so far in 2024.
“I have said publicly, and I will say it again, that the police have all the powers within the law to bring an end to the situation. All the powers within the law and the observance of human rights of individuals,” he asserted.
“We have given the police more resources than the last government gave for the last five years in power,” observed Pierre, whose Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) surged into office by a landslide after the July 26, 2021 general elections.
The Castries East MP also observed that his government had given the police more independence and increased their numbers.
“We are increasing their physical space,” he told reporters at Monday’s regular pre-cabinet briefing.
In addition, the Prime Minister said the government was doing what it could.
He recalled that last week, the police received two vehicles, and this week, they will get two more.
Pierre disclosed that his government had given the police drones.
“I have just signed to improve their fingerprinting capabilities,” he noted.
And he took issue with suggestions that the government and opposition should come together on crime.
“There is no division. If the opposition wants to create division with crime and violence, then they need to come together,” Pierre stated.
“So the idea of coming together as if it is something that you should be divided about is superfluous. You come together on things that divide you. But there ought to be no reason why we ought to have any doubt that crime is not good for a country. So why are there two sides as it relates to crime? Why is there an opposition side and a government side?”
He recalled that a leading opposition member, a former parliamentarian, had accused more than fifty percent of the people of being criminals.
Former Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee declared last week that many perpetrators of crime are Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) supporters.
However, Pierre attributed the statement to ignorance, frustration at being in opposition, and an indication of drowning men clutching at what they can.
He said he was happy with the response of the people not falling for such rhetoric.
Pierre told reporters there was no reason why any government or citizen would want crime in a country.
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