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National Security Minister Tells 'Bad Boys' Zero Tolerance to Lawlessness

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Friday, December 29, 2006 – The island's new Minister for Home Affairs and National Security Honourable Keith Mondesir has promised to take a deliberate tough stance on crime.

At a joint press conference last Friday held by the Honourable Minister and Police Commissioner Ausbert Regis, the two said emphatically that crime will no longer be tolerated.

According to the Home Affairs and National Security Minister, “We want to send a message to the bad boys that at no time anything but sticking within the law will be tolerated.”

Commissioner of Police Ausbert Regis, said an analysis of homicides that have occurred in St. Lucia indicate that 20% are drug or gang related. He promised to revisit conflict resolution initiatives at all levels. As far as mass crowds related crimes are concerned, the Police Commissioner promised to revisit a mass crowd events policy which was proposed by the National Emergency Management Organization. “This will ensure that organizer and promoters of events take responsibility for ensuring that there is adequate security,” he added.

The Royal St. Lucia Police Force with the assistance of British police officers currently on its staff, is in the process of developing an Intelligence Unit, charged with the specific responsibility of dealing with gangs.

Meanwhile, the two men at the helm of the island's security conceded that the police public relations is lacking. Commissioner Regis said the police is lacking in its ability to sell itself. He added that at the moment the force is void of the requisite skills, and would therefore need help from outside. “We need a full fledge communications unit within the force. We need persons who are trained, and who understand the business of public relations,” Regis said.

Regarding the sufficiency of manpower to meet the demands of the Cricket World Cup 2007, the police commissioner said, “I will do the best I can with what I have.” As part of the security component for the 2007 event, we are currently training one hundred and fifty constables to ensure that we have adequate security. Beausejour is not the venue for World Cup, St. Lucia is, and so between now and Cricket World Cup we will be aggressively pursuing a crime reduction strategy to ensure that a safe and secure climate is present in this country.”

Some of the other initiatives on the crime reduction agenda to be implemented early next year, include the use of breathalysers, and speed detectable devices. The Royal St. Lucia Police Force is also expected to receive additional vehicles, and communication equipment to help in carrying out its mandate.

The Home Affairs and National Security Minister said, “As a strong believer that one's environment could create wonders,” he will be embarking on a tour of police stations to asses the working environment. “We need to give the police not only the tools but the environment to work,” Dr. Mondesir said. Dr. Mondesir also spoke of introducing night courts early in the new year.

The National Security Minister and the Police Commissioner took a moment to wish the officers of the police force, their families and the general public a prosperous new year, and encouraged the public to continue to partner with the police in abating crime. Commissioner Regis however warns his officers that a challenging year awaits them, especially in the face of Cricket World Cup, but said they should see it as an opportunity to prove their professionalism and efficiency.

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