Corruption and Crime, Saint Lucia’s Twin Monsters

WE boldly state that should crime and corruption be eliminated in the country today Saint Lucia’s economic situation would improve 100 percent.

We also maintain that for our economy to grow and be resilient we must hold our leaders to account and ensure that the stewardship of public funds translate into better outcomes for all of us and not for just a few.

We continue to treat crime with kid gloves, but despite the gains which have been achieved with the several investments that the Government of Saint Lucia has made in both the police and judiciary, we are still struggling to corner crime and bring it under control.

Unless all political parties, politicians, legislators, civil society leaders, and citizens all sing from the same song sheet regarding the eradication of crime, crime will continue to be the monster it presently is, causing death and destruction to as many people as it can, it being no respecter of persons.

The sharp rise in crime in Saint Lucia over the past six or so years has so seriously affected our national psyche that today, a curse word, a loud voice or a mistaken identity can get someone killed in this beautiful country of ours.

Saint Lucia is a violent country irrespective of how some of us may try to deny it. Our homicide rate, over the past five years, has been trending upward, so much so that we are no longer moved by the horrendous act. A murder is not even headline news anymore.

Crime and security-related issues are perhaps the biggest problems facing Saint Lucia today. Yet we, as citizens, continue to politicise crime; half the population happy when crime is a problem under the governance of the Saint Lucia Labour Party, and the other half happy when that same problem exists under the reign of the United Workers Party.

Even as we stick our heads in the sand, like the proverbial ostrich, happy to dance to the tunes of our respective political party, our young men are dying, families are torn in anguish, all over the senseless death of their young ones.

Crime is destroying the bedrock of our development, which is our young people, yet we rejoice. How sick a people can we be?  We rejoice even as crime eats away at our Gross Domestic Product, unaware, or seemingly so, that crime is causing our weak socio-economic performance, altering our lifestyles, and throwing more and more of us into poverty as both local and foreign businesses decline to invest in a country that is seen as crime infested.

The same applies to corruption, which certainly has negative effects on the growth and development of a country by impeding investment, which will affect growth and jobs and interferes with how government spends funds for the development of the country, much to the detriment of future economic growth.

Too many Saint Lucians are so consumed with party politics that they fail to consider how strong a constraint corruption is on the growth and development of Saint Lucia. They scream to the heavens about how corrupt government is, but do so only when their party is in opposition. They clam up when their party forms the government, irrespective of the fraudulent conduct of the men and women therein.

“It’s my turn now” can never be accepted as a justification for unjust and unfair behaviour. Decisions and treatments based on perceived political loyalty or, worse yet, political opposition are an insidious undermining of our national character.  Saint Lucia belongs to all of us all of the time, not to some today and others tomorrow.

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