2017 Might Record the High­est Mur­der Toll

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By STAR Re­porter

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.

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