With the notable spike in crime and the territory recording yet another gun-related homicide, Opposition Leader Hon. Marlon Penn said the Hon. Andre Fahie-led administration cannot continue to hide behind the Governor and the Commissioner of Police on the issue of crime.
“We legislators, all 13 of us need to have an open conversation on the issue of crime and whatever elements of the issue of crime we need to address, we need to address it forthright,” Penn said during the NDP Radio last night, April 19.
He said during today’s sitting of the House of Assembly, the matter will be raised with the territory’s leader, Premier and Minister of Finance Hon. Fahie.
He continued: “The National Security Council (NSC), who has the overall responsibility has to bring a plan to the people. We have had many murders due to gun crime or violent crime; we have had attempted murders, just the other day, we had a shooting in Belle Vue and it is getting out of control. Let us get the money from the reserves, just like we are aggressively dealing with the issue of COVID-19. We cannot just continue to hide behind the fact that the Governor is responsible for security, the Commissioner is responsible for this, all of us in Cabinet, in the government has a responsibility to deal with the issue of crime.”
Hon. Penn said another area that needs attention is lighting territory-wide.
“The entire territory is dark. Whatever it takes, we need to find a way to get the CCTV cameras back up and running, we need to get lighting in key areas within our communities, and we need to have more patrols. And, I must say that I have seen more of the police vehicles around the territory, and I must commend them, but we need to improve on those patrols throughout the territory. People need to feel safe in their own homes; they need to feel safe in the territory,” Hon. Penn stated.
He added: “If you think COVID-19 is bad when it comes to our economy, let us try crime, let this crime situation spiral out of control, you can imagine the impact that it is going to have on our overall economy? On our overall way of life as a territory. We have seen this in St. Croix, in other jurisdictions that have the issue of crime, we have to arrest this, and all of us has a responsibility to do the things that is necessary and where the financing is concerned the minister of finance, get the resources to get the CCTV’s up and running. Get the resources in place to get the country properly lit and do what we have to do support the police force, and we need to have a plan, and that has been the Achilles heel of this administration, the absence of a plan for everything, we yet to see what is the crime plan, how can we as a community get involved in the crime plan.”
The latest victim of gun crime is a woman who succumbed to a gunshot injury during an armed robbery at her home in Paraquita Bay on April 18 .