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Government to seek tougher penalties for illlegal weapons possession

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Contact: Shannon Lebourne


Tuesday 11 January 2011  In an effort to reduce on the number of homicides  and to deal with increasing violent crimes on the island, the government of Saint Lucia has decided to introduce tougher legislation for gun and dangerous weapons offences.


Attorney General and Minister for Justice Honourable Lorenzo Rudolph “Doddy” Francis, says under the new legislation, possession of an illegal firearm will be an offence of strict liability with a mandatory ten-year jail sentence.


He explains that the Attorney General’s Chambers will legislate more stringent penalties for such crimes.


“Our intention is to make firearm offences an offence of strict liability: this means that it makes a person legally responsible for the possession of a firearm so there is no need for a person to prove his or her innocence. Once you are found with an illegal firearm you are guilty so anybody found with an unlicensed firearm in their possession will get an automatic jail sentence of ten years.”


The Attorney General warns that people found in possession of illegal firearms will also be fined in addition to the ten-year mandatory jail sentence.


The penalty will also be compounded if violators are found with ammunition.


Mr Francis says the proliferation of illegal firearms in Saint Lucia is no longer tolerable and government will do everything to arrest the situation.


“Cabinet in consultation with a number of expert organisations and groups have come up with a complete strategy for addressing crime in 2011; this will be implemented swiftly.”

The Attorney General says government has also held discussions with senior members of the judiciary to secure their support in ensuring that the maximum penalty is imposed on people found guilty of firearms and dangerous weapons offences.


He says the prime minister will outline government's complete crime fighting strategy in the coming days.

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