2017 Might Record the Highest Murder Toll
As an angry police officer at the courthouse described, “This system is so backward! They should be in communication with the man's wife! So many murders happening and the people just sitting in Bordelais. They have to give the woman justice!” He was referring to the ongoing case of Roger Pratt's death about which his widow has been ill-informed.
He continued on the tangent, “How will this deter people from committing crime?” Even the police are frustrated.
As of November 9, 2017 the homicide toll for this year rose to 50 as a shooting at Pigeon Point was reported to the police around 1 p.m. The victim was identified as Kirk Prospere, a 28-year-old La Clery resident. He was shot multiple times and later pronounced dead at Victoria Hospital.
In only the past three weeks there have been eight homicide-related deaths including the triple murder reported in Bruceville, Vieux Fort on October 28. Some reports claim that a fourth person was in the house at the time, but was unharmed and is likely aiding investigations.
The year started with 11 homicides reported in January. By June, there were fears that the murder toll would be doubled in 2017 as the year's 28th homicide was close to the total of 31 recorded for all of 2016. With two months to spare, the number has skyrocketed: just two deaths away from the highest annual homicide toll ever recorded in Saint Lucia - 2011 with 52 murders. Notably, several allegations of extrajudicial police shootings were reported that year. Over the past ten years, the homicide rate has fluctuated between the high twenties and thirties, with the exceptions of 2006, 2010, 2011 and 2012 with 43, 48, 52 and 44 murders respectively.
At a sitting in the House of Assembly one year ago, on November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Chastanet spoke intensely about the rate of robbery, rape and murder and the actions his government was willing to take to dilute crime. This included attempting to provide the justice departments with suitable resources to make their work more effective. Improvements are gradually materializing but authorities are still grappling with a high crime rate.
This week Minister of National Security, Hermangild Francis, mentioned hosting a crime symposium to be held at the end of November in the hopes of addressing crime prevention. Government, media and other entities, such as the national youth and insurance councils, will be given the opportunity to present.
Details of the symposium are expected to be announced to the public soon.