Violent weekend in St. Lucia

Allan Chastanet

CASTRIES, St Lucia — At least six people were killed in various incidents in St Lucia over the weekend, less than four days after Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said he was convinced that criminals were people “who are destroying our livelihoods”.

Police said that they had detained one woman on Sunday night in connection with the death of a man believed to be in his early 30s at Grande Rivere, Corinth, a community four miles north east of the capital.

The unidentified man was reportedly stabbed several times by his girlfriend, but the circumstances surrounding the incident are so far unclear.

The stabbing took place just hours after two men, identified as Gillan Charles, 37 and Dequan Joseph, 16, were shot dead at Jacmel, a west coast community, while a third was seriously wounded and rushed to hospital. A law enforcement official reported late Sunday that the third victim, identified as Kyle Richard, has since succumbed to his wounds.

In another incident, police shot dead an unidentified man in Marigot, south of here, while Shermia Clercin, 28, who was shot multiple times over the New Year’s holiday, succumbed to his injuries early Sunday.

The island recorded its first murder Friday when Jeremie St Martin, a ‎21-year-old resident of Gros Islet, was found at his residence with gunshot wounds.

Last Thursday, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet told reporters that criminals were the enemy of St Lucia.

Speaking on the incidents of crime at his news conference, Chastanet declared that criminals are the enemies of St Lucia, saying that he is “not convinced that poverty contributes to crime only.”

“There’s still a certain amount of values that we have and St Lucians must see criminals, not as ‘maleways’ (unfortunate people), but as people who are affecting our society,” Chastanet said, adding “they are the enemy. They are the people who are destroying our livelihoods”.

He urged people not to protect criminals and that they should be supportive of the police.

“Right now I think a lot of people commit a lot of crimes in this country because there is no fear of being convicted,” the prime minister said, adding there was need to have this changed.

He said that while his administration would be seeking to beef up the police service with new equipment, the emphasis in the first six to eight months will be on the judicial system.

Chastanet disclosed that more money will be spent on employing more magistrates and judges and increasing the number of court houses.